For the second week running a survey among West manufacturers has highlighted their positive outlook.
The latest survey – from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountancy firm BDO – forecasts that output and order intake over the next quarter are expected to increase to a balance of plus 28%, while cashflow is expected to double to a balance of plus 22%.
This follows output and total order increases in the past quarter up to a balance of plus 16% and plus 11% respectively.
The survey also shows that, while recruitment intentions fell (minus 5%), the demand for skilled staff continues with a balance of plus 11% of companies planning to recruit in the next quarter in spite of ongoing difficulties.
Last week a survey by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) showed the West’s small to medium-sized manufacturers were encouragingly positive in their outlook with nearly two thirds (64%) expecting to increase turnover over the next six months.
South West director of EEF Phil Brownsord said of the new survey: “The outlook is pleasingly positive for manufacturers in the region and appears brighter still looking forward with more companies expecting to see growing production and sales in the next three months.
“However, this confidence is still fragile; at the moment it doesn’t take much for customers to hold back on placing orders. Nevertheless, the UK economy needs positive news, particularly as growth driven by more trade and investment has still to materialise on a more sustained basis. Government cannot afford to let up in efforts to take a more dynamic approach to boosting growth through investment, starting with the Budget.”
John Talbot, at BDO in Bristol, said: “These figures are reassuring and we are encouraged further by the fact that sentiment improving more still for the next three months is translating into increased employment and ongoing plans for investment.
“Much of this is being driven by positive export expectations despite the fact that the landscape in Europe remains uncertain. What is needed is positive action, either from Government or increased lending from the banks, that provides the impetus to move positive intentions into actual output and sales.”
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