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Some businesses aren't feeling a strong recovery according to this survey

The manufacturing sector is proving to be a “cause of concern”.

Image: manufacturing via Shutterstock

DESPITE SIGNS THAT the economy is beginning to regain momentum, we need to “temper our enthusiasm”, small and medium businesses are warning.

A new survey reveals that several key economic indicators have not improved in the first quarter of 2014, with the manufacturing sector in particular showing ‘worrying’ signs.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association’s (ISME) Quarterly Business Trends survey shows drops in business confidence, expectations, and current employment levels.

Both current exports and export expectations dropped, something the Association said ‘cast a show over the Government’s export led recovery aspirations’.

PastedImage-25918 Source: ISME

However, manufacturing shows “the most cause for concern”.

Businesses from this sector reported either declines or no change in all 12 indicators, with Current Sales dropping from 29% to 12%.

The retail sector improved, with current sales rising from -39 to -7 per cent, current investment from 17 to 40 per cent, and a doubling in business confidence from 13 to 37 per cent.

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“The Government and big business lobby PR machine has been in overdrive in recent months telling us all that the storm has passed,” CEO Mark Fielding said.

It is important that we temper our enthusiasm, manage our expectations and do not get complacent at this point as current signs of recovery are tentative, to say the least and must be protected”.

“It will take a lot more time and sustained effort before we can truly put the effects of the recession behind us,” he added.

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Nicky Ryan

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