Exports strengthen upturn in manufacturing and engineering

The
upturn in engineering and manufacturing has strengthened due to increasing
exports, with output and orders growing at their fastest rate since the end of
1996, according to new research.

The
survey, published by the EEF manufacturers’ organisation and chartered
accountants and management consultants RSM Robson Rhodes, also shows that
companies plan to increase investment, and have not reported job cuts for the
first time in six years. The largest number of jobs were created in the south
of England.

EEF
chief economist, Stephen Radley said: “Manufacturers are now delivering the
long-awaited upturn and are looking to expand further in the second half of
this year.

“However,
the rising price of oil and commodities will make it harder to rebuild margins
and could also eat into growth,” he said.

Key
findings


Output and orders are continuing to rise strongly


It is the first quarter without job losses for six years


Investment intentions are becoming positive


Price increases reflect increasing costs


Margins remain under pressure


Companies remain optimistic about the next three months


Healthy growth forecast

The
regional picture pointed to a more even performance across the UK with more
buoyant conditions across all regions.

Electronics
continues to drive growth in the South and Scotland, while the North West and
North East have benefited from the upturn in mechanical equipment. The Midlands
continued to improve, despite the weaker performance of motor vehicles.

By Quentin Reade

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