The percentage of pub and bar operators who had “high confidence” in their business surviving the next three months is growing, pushing past the 20% mark for the first time since November last year.

Data from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Business Insights and Conditions Survey has found that the levels of operators in the sector who had high confidence, had increased from its lowest point of 1% in February this year, to 24% in May 2021.

But despite the increase, the confidence figures for pubs are still much lower than for businesses overall, with 44% very confident of surviving the pandemic.

The numbers of pub and bar owners who had low confidence in their ability to survive has dropped from a high of 63% in November 2020 but was up on the 3% figure for April this year.

The ONS report noted that 91% of pub and bar staff were on furlough in November this year, with that figure now down to 55%, which compares to 8% and 15% of in all other businesses over the period.

Meanwhile, more than a third of 33% of pubs reported that profits were down more than half in late April, compared to only 9% of all other businesses.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, said the doors may be open and pints are being pulled “but there is still a long way to go before the pub and bar sector can celebrate with a ‘cheers’ to good health”.

“There may be queues now forming outside popular venues, but despite a bounce back in customer demand, job uncertainty still remains relatively high in pubs and bars. Fifty-nine percent of businesses in the sector said they were not going to make staff redundant over the next three months, compared to 81% in all other businesses,” she said.