The YouGov Household Economic Activity Tracker (HEAT) index climbed 2½ points to 100.4 in March, the highest reading in almost three years. Despite talk of an impending triple-dip recession the HEAT index has risen 6% since the start of the year.

Crucially, the index is above 100 for the first time since June 2010. A reading above 100 indicates that more households think their economic situation is getting better than getting worse.

Stephen Harmston, head of YouGov SixthSense, said: “A majority of British workers are feeling secure in their jobs, and many believe that business will either accelerate or hold steady over the coming months. Because of this we are seeing a cautiously optimistic outlook at the grassroots of the British economy.”

UK households expect business activity to accelerate

British employees are detecting a pick-up in economic momentum at their places of work. When asked how they thought the level of business activity had changed between February and March, more than one in four (26%) said it increased, the greatest proportion since the survey began in February 2010. Meanwhile, 59% reported steady activity, with the remaining 15% saying it deteriorated.

Employees are also optimistic about the coming financial year, with 37% of respondents expecting business activity to be higher in a year’s time, compared with just 14% who think it will be lower.

British workers less concerned about unemployment

A solid majority (59%) of British workers say they feel secure in their jobs, and that they are ‘unlikely’ to be laid off. Only 18% of respondents think it is ‘likely’ that they will lose their job in the next 12 months, which is a significant improvement on the 20% who said they were likely to be made redundant last month.

Dominic White, Chief European Economist at ASR, said: “British households appear to be getting a bit more optimistic about the prospects for UK business, and this goes hand in hand with a feeling of greater job security among workers. For many households, finances are still tight, but if business activity continues to improve and job security holds steady then this could provide households with the confidence they need to start spending a bit more, which is crucial to getting the economy moving again.”

Household Economic Activity Tracker graph march 2013

Click to enlarge

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