THERE are still challenges to be overcome before business can say the recession is behind it, the head of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned.

Ian Girling was reacting to the British Chamber of Commerce’s (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey, covering April to June.

Its results from 7,000 businesses nationwide, including many DCCI members, pointed to continued growth, but many indicators were down on the first quarter this year.

Mr Girling said: "The national situation is mirrored in Dorset.

“We are still moving in the right direction with the recovery continuing, although the pace slowed slightly in the second quarter of the year as we settled into a period of sustained growth.

“There is still some way to go and challenges to overcome before we can say that we have completely put the worst recession in living memory behind us.”

He added: “Dorset businesses continue to do themselves proud as they show dedication and resilience to ensure that the economic recovery continues in the county.”

The survey showed three indicators at record highs for manufacturing – domestic sales (up 42 per cent), profitability confidence (up 51 per cent) and capacity utilisation (up 46 per cent). But this had dropped from six indicators at all-time highs in the first quarter.

All export and investment indicators fell for manufacturing and services, although most were still above pre-recession levels.

The BCC said its survey showed the recovery continuing at a satisfactory pace but progress towards rebalancing the economy was inadequate, with concerns about falls in exports and investment as well as rises in consumer spending.

Mr Girling said interest rates and the general election were among the challenges ahead.