Industrial activity surges as confidence returns

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Yorkshire and Humber manufacturers are reporting a surge in activity as the recovery begins to take hold, according to a survey released today by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

A balance of 31 per cent of companies in Yorkshire reported increased output, up from 18 per cent in the last quarter and the highest for more than a year, according to the quarterly survey,

Orders balances also increased to the highest level seen in 2013 to 23 per cent, significantly higher than the 16 per cent previously forecast. The increase was up from 13 per cent in the last quarter and -3 per cent in the first quarter.

The survey said that companies appear confident that the positive trend will continue into the forth quarter of 2013, with a balance of and 42 per cent forecasting orders will rise in the run up to Christmas.

The rebound is being led by a stronger domestic market while conditions in overseas markets have also picked up with the balance of companies seeing growth in export sales rising to a two-year high.

Jason Whitworth, corporate finance partner at BDO in Yorkshire, said: “With a domestic market at its strongest for almost three years, backed by export sales at a two year high, manufacturers across all sectors and throughout the supply chain are feeling the benefits of an impressive return to confidence.

“The positive change in investment intentions is a powerful and important indicator, and key to the future growth and positioning of the sector in the regional, domestic and global markets.”

Andy Tuscher, Yorkshire and Humber region director at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “Industry’s prospects have brightened considerably in the past few months. There is growing confidence that improving trading conditions will continue into the final months of this year and then accelerate through the gears in 2014.

“Government cannot afford to rest on its laurels at the first signs of positive economic news. We need on-going action to ensure the UK is a competitive location for manufacturers to invest and grow.”

The improved outlook is improving job prospects, with a balance of 12 per cent of manufacturers in Yorkshire increasing their headcount in the last three months compared to just four per cent in the previous quarter.

A balance of 16 per cent expect to continue recruiting.