Gloom sweeps Europe, unemployment keeps rising and pay rises are a distant memory. But hope for the economy arrives today in an unlikely, though beautifully coiffured, shape: hairdressers.
Hair and beauty is one of the few growth sectors of the economy. Beautiful Britain, a survey of 1,500 hair and beauty professionals, finds that at least 11,000 new jobs should be created this year.
The rise in male grooming is helping. Demand from men for massage and skin treatments is increasing the size of the industry.
But the mainstay of the sector – women – have maintained their regular visits to the hairdressers in the face of austerity.
The research shows that average annual bill for haircuts, colour and manicure comes in at £752.
Richard Hull, managing director of Salon Services, said: "The fact that the hair and beauty industry continues to perform strongly in difficult economic conditions is testament to the talent and business nous of hard-working professionals across the UK.
"It's time for an industry with an annual turnover of £6bn, employing a quarter of a million people, to get the credit it deserves."