Manufacturing Cinderella to be the belle of the economic ball – EEF/BDO survey

cindersBritain’s manufacturing sector, for so long the Cinderella of the economy, will grow faster than the all other sectors put together next year, says a survey published today by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and the business advice and accountancy firm BDO.

Following the survey, which showed manufacturing output heading higher in the final months of this year, EEF is forecasting that the sector will grow by 2.7% in 2014 compared to 2.4% for the economy overall. The improved performance during 2013 has also resulted in EEF revising its forecasts for this year, showing manufacturing contracting by just 0.1% and the economy growing overall by 1.4%

However, EEF warned that the risks to a strong, sustained recovery remained evident with both output and orders balances down on expectations from the previous quarter and with the export picture in particular looking more uncertain than in previous quarters.

Commenting, EEF chief economist, Lee Hopley, said: “Over the course of the year we have seen a definite turnaround in prospects for manufacturing and this looks set to continue into next year. This increased confidence is evident in companies looking to increase their headcount and, most importantly for balanced growth, step up their investment.”

Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at BDO, said that international markets held the key to a fully-fledged and meaningful improvement for UK manufacturing and these markets remained “frustratingly fragile”. He went on: “We haven’t missed the boat yet, but companies need to stand ready and be supported by an accessible, government-backed export framework in order to take full advantage of the recovery on the continent and beyond once it starts.”

Copyright Ken Hurst 2013


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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