-2.1 on previous index reading
At 91.1 in March 2019, the Business Pulse was down 2.1 on last month and 5.7 lower than a year ago. All four sector Pulses lost ground this month, with firms in industry, services and construction reporting softer order books and retailers taking a dim view of the recent trading period. More positively, the March survey finds that three in ten businesses expect to increase their investment spending this year compared to last year, with replacing and maintaining plant and equipment the main area of focus. Uncertainty remains a drag however and with clarity about Brexit still lacking, 58% of firms impacted by the UK’s decision to leave the EU indicated that they have pressed the pause button on their investment plans for 2019.