Manufacturing enjoys strong start to 2017

UK manufacturing has got off to a much stronger start to the year than expected, defying firms' own expectations and providing a much-needed boost to confidence, recruitment and investment, according to a new survey.

UK manufacturers are enjoying a strong start to 2017  Photo: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com  COPYRIGHT PICTURE>>SHAUN FLANNERY>
UK manufacturers are enjoying a strong start to 2017 Photo: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com COPYRIGHT PICTURE>>SHAUN FLANNERY>

The latest quarterly Manufacturing Outlook survey from the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and the business advisory firm BDO, reports positives across all the sector’s key indicators.

Across the UK, the balance of firms reporting an uplift in output (31 per cent) and orders (29 per cent) is double what was expected, with the output balance hitting its highest level since the third quarter of 2013.

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This positive picture is reflected in Yorkshire and the Humber where output this quarter has exceeded manufacturers’ expectations.

UK manufacturers are enjoying a strong start to 2017 Photo: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com COPYRIGHT PICTURE>>SHAUN FLANNERY>

A balance of 10 per cent of firms have seen output grow, almost matched by those seeing their orders expand (12 per cent).

An EEF spokesman said: “However, the real positive for the region is in recruitment, with a balance of 24 per cent of firms on the recruitment trail this quarter – far more than expected.

“Looking ahead to the next quarter, Yorkshire and Humber’s manufacturers expect the positive trend to continue. A balance of 29 per cent of firms expect orders to balloon, while 25 per cent expect output to increase. Employment intentions are expected to hold up well, but the positivity doesn’t extend to investment intentions, which firms predict will remain flat.”

Andy Tuscher, Yorkshire and Humber Region Director at EEF, said: “The post-referendum wobble that defined UK manufacturing’s performance in the second half of 2016 has been left firmly behind with manufacturers now rallying far more strongly than even they had predicted.”

UK manufacturers are enjoying a strong start to 2017 Photo: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com COPYRIGHT PICTURE>>SHAUN FLANNERY>