Manufacturing survey offers “a chink of light”

Despite a number of challenges facing the sector, UK manufacturing companies remain optimistic that they may see some growth this year.

The new survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, found that continued uncertainty about the state of the global economy was still having an impact on investment plans for the sector. In particular the upheaval made companies wary of hiring more staff.

That said, there are signs that some of the problems which bedevilled the industry in 2015 had “bottomed out”.

The survey of 369 firms found that while manufacturing output had continued to dwindle over the last quarter there were nonetheless signs of improvement.

And with order books looking decisively healthier than they did before Christmas, there are hopes that output will start to grow again over the next three months.

There was particular positivity for sectors such as transport, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, who have fared rather better than industries such as steel.

The EEF’s chief economist Lee Hopley said: “After the gloomy end to 2015, this latest data shows a chink of light.

“But, we should not be getting the deckchairs out yet. The slide is bottoming out, but manufacturing is still in negative territory and faces a precarious climb back up amidst a storm of real uncertainty.”

All eyes will now turn to the results of the next survey, which are expected to be published in May.

At Nicklin LLP, we have particular expertise in working with manufacturing clients in the Midlands, who benefit from our extensive tax, accountancy and business development expertise.