Verdict has been conducting the poll to study the trends in business optimism during COVID-19 as reflected by the views of companies on their future growth prospects amid the pandemic.

Analysis of the poll responses recorded in November shows that optimism regarding future growth prospects increased by two percentage points to 63% from 61% in October.

The respondents who were optimistic decreased by one percentage point to 23% in November, while those very optimistic increased by three percentage points to 40%.

The respondents who were pessimistic decreased by one percentage point to 7%, whereas those who were very pessimistic remained unchanged at 15% from October.

The percentage of respondents who were neutral (neither optimistic nor pessimistic) decreased by one percentage point to 15%.

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The analysis is based on 928 responses received from the readers of Verdict network sites between 01 November and 30 November 2021.

Increase in vaccinations and consumer spending lifts business optimism in November

The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer reported an increase in business optimism in the Wales, the South East and East of England regions of the UK, although the remaining regions reported a decline in optimism. The overall business optimism declined but remained above the long-term average of 28% following the declaration of vaccine progression.

The easing of restrictions across England and an approaching festive season contributed to the increase in business optimism in the retail sector raising expectations for similar improvements in other sectors. Post-furlough hiring plans cooled but remained strong, with nearly 48% of organisations planning to increase their staff over the next year. Pay growth expectations also improved in November with a quarter of organisations planning 3% or more increase in average wages.

Furthermore, the Business Impacts of Coronavirus Survey conducted by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the first two weeks of November found 84.8% of the respondents to have higher or moderate confidence of their business survival over the next three months.

Business confidence increased among Canada’s small businesses in November, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer® Short-term Index. The three-month optimism index increased by 4.3 points to 49.8, while the 12-month long-term optimism index increased by 1.7 points to 62.2.