Manufacturing jobs at two-year low

Employment levels in manufacturing are at their lowest level for two years, according to manufacturers’ organisation the EEF.

The third quarter engineering outlook survey, published by EEF and chartered accountants RSM Robson Rhodes, shows that all sectors of manufacturing except transport equipment are reducing job numbers.

However, the poll of 1,000 companies found that firms were optimistic about results in the next quarter as the manufacturing industry has seen modest growth in the past three months.

Bob Hale, chairman of RSM Robson Rhodes’ national manufacturing and technology group, said: “While a mixed picture has emerged over the past quarter, it is encouraging that companies are more optimistic for the coming three months.

“It is important that companies continue to invest and, prioritise, if spending plans need to be cut back,” he said.

The survey’s key findings were:

  • modest growth in output in past three months
  •  improved export markets offset domestic weakness
  • the metals sector weakened and motor vehicles continued to struggle, but other sectors are still growing
  • employment prospects have worsened
  • firms are more optimistic about the next quarter
  • economic forecasts for engineering and manufacturing have been downgraded, although expansion is forecast for the second half of the year. 

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