+3.5 on previous index reading
The Business Pulse stood at 91.0 in January 2018, up 3.5 on last month but down 1.8 on a year ago. Firms in all sectors upgraded their near-term expectations for business activity this month, with those in industry, services and construction also more positive about employment prospects. The January data show that 44% of businesses are planning on increasing basic wages over the coming 12 months – this is up from 37% this time last year and reflects the tightening of the labour market in the intervening period, as well as the higher national minimum wage that came into effect at the start of 2018 – while 48% of workers are expecting a pay rise. Looking further ahead, the majority of firms remain on a growth trajectory, with two in three having ambitions to expand in the next 1 to 3 years.