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The economy

Record optimism among small manufacturers

Confidence among small manufacturers has reached its highest level since records began in 1988, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s latest SME Trends Survey.

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1.4 million on zero-hours contracts

Around 1.4 million people are employed on zero-hours contracts, an Office for National Statistics study has suggested.

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Retail jobs growth in Q1

The number of full-time jobs in the retail sector increased 1.8% in the first quarter of 2014, according to the British Retail Consortium.

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'Exceptionally strong' outlook for UK economy

The UK economy's growth prospects for the next three months are "exceptionally strong", according to the Confederation of British Industry.

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Mixed success for Scottish manufactured exports

Scottish manufactured export volumes in 2013 rose 1.9% on 2012, the fastest annual increase since 2008, according to official figures.

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New mortgage rules take effect

People applying for a mortgage are to face tougher financial checks, as the Financial Conduct Authority’s new market regulations take effect tomorrow (26 April 2014).

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28,400 jobs for Northern Ireland economy

The Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy has predicted that 28,400 jobs will be created in Northern Ireland by 2018.

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Unemployment rate falls to 6.9 per cent

The unemployment rate fell by 77,000 to 2.24 million between December 2013 and February 2014, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

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Housing market confidence grows

UK households feel more positive about selling their home, reflecting the growing confidence in the housing market, according to research commissioned by Halifax.

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SMEs look to export

More small and medium-sized businesses than ever intend to export goods and services, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

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