Business leaders' optimism about the UK economy has turned positive for the first time in almost a year, a survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) shows.
The IoD polled 693 company directors and found that confidence in the economy reached 1% in March 2018, having been reported in negative figures every month since May 2017.
Directors' optimism about their own companies was much higher, at 47%, and had risen by 11% over the same period.
This upturn follows several months of low economic confidence since March 2017, when Article 50 was triggered and the UK began negotiations for its withdrawal from the EU.
For the first time since that date, the UK's uncertain trading status with the EU is no longer among business leaders' top 3 concerns.
Instead, company directors reported that the following factors had the worst impact on their organisation:
- UK economic conditions (47%)
- skills shortages or employee skills gaps (42%)
- compliance with government regulation (42%).
Tej Parikh, senior economist at the IoD, said:
"While directors' economic confidence has edged into positive territory, there's still plenty keeping them on the fence.
"Positivity has been held back by rising labour shortages and the burden of complying with government regulations, and this should remind us that Brexit isn't the only game in town."
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