Manufacturing decline begins to show

An
estimated 8,000 manufacturing jobs could be lost in the first quarter of 2001,
according to a new CBI-backed survey.

The
regional trends survey published by the CBI and Business Strategies  reveals that business confidence among UK
manufacturers continued to fall in most regions but that the rate of decline is
slowing.

Only
Northern Ireland and the South West of England expect increases in employment.

The
CBI’s associate director of economic analysis Sudhir Junankar said that despite
the survey’s gloomy findings there are some grounds for optimism.

He
said, "This survey paints a slightly more encouraging picture than has
been seen for some time, but there are considerable variations between the
regions. Confidence fell sharply in the traditional manufacturing heartlands of
the North East, the West Midlands and Wales, reflecting stagnation or outright
declines in new orders in the past four months.

"Manufacturers
in the South West, however, have become much more confident on the back of
rising orders and output. But there are still concerns over the weakness of
investment plans across most of the country as profit margins remain under
pressure."

http://www.cbi.org.uk/

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