The number of North West businesses showing signs of growth is at its lowest for over five years, while the number showing signs of distress has reached a three-year high, according to new research by insolvency and restructuring trade body R3.
In its latest survey, just 51 per cent of businesses in the region reported one or more signs of growth, down from 61 per cent in April and 78 per cent at its peak in December 2015.
Meanwhile, 30 per cent reported one or more signs of distress, up from 10 per cent in April and the highest since 2014.
Paul Barber, North West Chair of R3 and a partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “The business climate has changed markedly since December 2015, when growth levels were at a record high and distress levels at a record low. Since then we seen a distinct increase in distress and a drop in growth.
“It looks like a new phase of the economic cycle has started.
“With the increase in the National Living Wage, rising inflation and new pensions rules all pushing up costs up, and greater uncertainty, the picture is getting murkier.”