Manufacturing recovery ‘elusive’ and ‘fragile’

GDP300With new official figures confirming economic growth for the first quarter of the year was a modest 0.3%, economists variously described the recovery of UK manufacturing as elusive and fragile.

Commenting on today’s GDP data, Lee Hopley, chief economist at the manufacturers’ organisation EEF said that while revisions to previous data issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had “revised away” the double-dip downturn and confirmed that the economy grew in the first quarter of this year, that was where the positive news ended.

“Output across the economy and manufacturing has made up less ground since the end of the recession than previously thought and signs of any sustained rebalancing towards trade and investment remain elusive,” she added.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said that despite the revisions, there were “worrying signs of steep falls in business investment and household incomes, which serve as a reminder to the government and Bank of England that much still needs to be done to get the UK economy back to health.”

He said that available information pointed to GDP growth approaching 0.5% in the three months to June but added, “However, other data within today’s release provides a reminder of the fragility of the economy, and especially business confidence. The economy is just 0.3% larger than a year ago, half the previous estimate.”

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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