Optimistic signs for manufacturing

Manufacturing has shown the first signs of a turnaround, according to a new

The third quarter of the EEF/RSM Robson Rhodes 2003 Engineering Outlook
survey by the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) reports the second
consecutive improvement.

For the first time in more than two years, the number of companies reporting
output and orders growth has risen. But it was demand for exports that propped
up order books this quarter, as companies continue to report a decline in the
domestic market.

Levels of optimism have also improved, although they are only a little above
where they were in the middle of 2002.

EEF chief economist Steve Radley said: "A more favourable currency and
some signs of global markets improving are helping manufacturers reap the
rewards of their efforts to improve competitiveness.

"However, the upturn is in a very early phase and many firms are still
struggling. We are still some way off having the confidence to start investing
again – and what we can term a full recovery."


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