COVID, Brexit and driver shortages are continuing to hit the cost and availability of raw material for manufacturers in our region, while two thirds of the service sector are struggling to recruit.

Demand remains strong but many firms are finding it difficult to keep pace as supply challenges hold back order fulfilment.

These are the views of chambers of commerce across West and North Yorkshire, as the business representative organisation publishes the findings of its latest quarterly economic survey.

Now in its 32nd year, this is the largest and longest-running regional business survey.

It found that domestic sales across services held up following the surge in quarter one, and while the pace of growth slowed for manufacturers, the data is positive overall.

However, manufacturers cite availability and cost of raw material as a problem as are haulage and shipping disruptions, largely down to Covid, Brexit and driver shortages.

Wider labour shortages are also a problem for many firms with two thirds of service sector and 80 per cent of manufacturers reporting recruitment difficulties in the last quarter.

Additional bureaucracy, border delays and transportation costs continue to cause problems for one in two manufacturers exporting to the EU.

This is down from the same period in the first quarter of this year as companies adjust to new and additional trade procedures.

Laurence Beardmore, president of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s pleasing to know that many of our business are now facing growing demand for their goods and services.

"Of course, it’s not so pleasing that they are now facing further challenges as they attempt to meet that demand.

"Rising input costs and inflationary pressures are expected to be short term, but will challenge company cash flows in the interim period as balance sheets recover from the economic crisis.

"On employment and recruitment, the survey findings chime with national data showing job vacancies at their highest recorded level.

"Recruitment, however, remains tough in the current ‘candidate-led market’ which exists right now. Despite the challenges business confidence remains strong as companies look to 2022.”

Visit for the report.