BUSINESS confidence from firms in the region is among the highest nationally, according to the latest business barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Business confidence in the West Midlands is among the highest in the UK at 45 per cent in January, 10 points higher than the national average.

Economic optimism in the region stands at 44 per cent, above that recorded across the UK as a whole, while firms’ confidence in their own business prospects is 45 per cent compared with a UK average of 39 per cent.

Nationally overall confidence rose seven points to a nine-month high.

The Business Barometer provides early signals about UK economic trends and has run monthly since January 2002. This is the first time that the survey, which questioned 1,200 businesses, has been carried out on a regional as well as national basis.

Glen Wilson regional director for the West Midlands at Lloyds Bank, said: “Local businesses started 2018 positively, with confidence in a number of areas well above the national average.

“It’s encouraging to see strong job prospects for the region, with many businesses planning to increase their workforce over the next year.”