CONFIDENCE among businesses in the region has quietly grown over the last year and reached a new peak not seen since before the credit crunch.

Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said its latest quarterly economic survey for the fourth quarter of 2012 showed a pick-up in domestic sales and orders.

However, the region is still over-reliant on export markets in Western Europe and North America, both of which are experiencing slow consumer demand like the UK.

Although employment intentions slowed, jobs are still being created, mostly by small businesses, with more than a third of companies reporting they attempted to recruit last quarter.

Mark Goldstone, head of business representation and policy at the Chamber, said: “Last year proved to be a very challenging year for business and our results demonstrate that. Still, businesses are showing that famous Yorkshire grit and resilience, getting on with creating jobs and investing in the future.

“However, economic growth is still weak and while we applaud recent announcements about investment in our creaking railways and planned City Deal investment for transport and economic infrastructure, these will all take time before we see shovels in the ground.”