Summer is here, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the days are long and business is good. Or is it? Ok, so the sun isn’t always shinning and hot summers seem a thing of the past, but the concept of how weather affects business is a hotly contested (excuse the pun) subject these days. Economists have often tried to establish a link between weather patterns and economic activity -  for many of our customers, weather can be a game changer.


Common sense suggests that in times of extreme weather similar to that experienced by the UK over the past two or three winters, there is an unavoidable effect upon the economy. Sectors such as construction for example, find it very difficult to operate given the demands placed upon the labour force in such freezing conditions. All builders will tell you a harsh winter can set them back months.


However, what about during normal weather patterns such as a two or three week high during summer or a typically wet November? Are we really going to see a marked difference from the basic fundamentals underpinning the economy? Scientists suggest higher levels of serotonin (a naturally produced chemical that promotes happiness and well being in the brain) during periods of hot weather, tempt more people onto the high street with wallet in hand. A quick search on Google reveals several retail related articles about how the high street benefits from such conditions. Clothes giant Next for example, indicated a 5.2% increase in sales for the first quarter in 2011 was due to the hot weather over Easter and the Royal Wedding. Either that or people needed clothes for the sunny weather.


For us, the answer is not always so clear cut. It is likely that different industries benefit or suffer due to changing weather conditions. A plumber or central heating engineer for example, is likely to be far busier than a builder during a freezing cold snap. Similarly, a travel agent is likely to be cursing a hot UK summer whilst the ice cream vendor runs laughing to the bank.   


If you tot up the weightings each industry has as a proportion of the total economy, you could probably start to see how differing weather conditions would affect the overall economy. Sadly we don’t have the time but it is interesting to think that a few rays of sunshine could change the course of a business or how a bucket load of snow could ruin someone’s livelihood.