Business growth across mid Wales stalled in the final quarter of 2013 according to the Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for the period.

The number of businesses who maintained or increased their UK-based sales dropped from 77% in Q3 to 74%, while international exports remained at 78%. Advanced order-books for those trading in the UK did remain a little healthier, however, with 77% of business maintaining or increasing orders, up from 72% last quarter.

Recruitment also fell across the region, with 93% of the businesses which did try to recruit reporting a real difficulty finding staff with the right skills.

The Quarterly Economic Survey monitors the performance of businesses in Newport, Swansea, Cardiff, mid Wales and the surrounding regions, and acts as a barometer for the strength of the Welsh economy.

Graham Morgan, director of the Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: “The results for Mid Wales are a setback when compared to other parts of Wales, particularly after a promising set of figures released in Q3 2013 for Powys & Ceredigion.

“However, it is not entirely unexpected. Mid Wales is seeing a stream of young people moving out of the region to pursue jobs over the border. They are leaving education without the skills they need to apply for jobs on their own door step, particularly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, and this is having a direct effect on businesses.

“As we move into the New Year we need to see a concerted, collaborative effort to address this issue involving all stake holders, businesses, schools and colleges, and Welsh Government.

“Every QES survey we have carried out over the last two years we have seen confidence in the business community building, and we must hope that this is only a temporary blip. We will be doing all we can to support businesses in the region and monitoring the situation on the ground closely to see how it develops over the next three months.”