Manufacturing flurry was no fluke, says BCC

John LongworthA major new survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has set aside fears that that the manufacturing industry’s growth spurt last summer was only temporary. Its quarterly Economic Survey released today (Tuesday) shows that five key measures – domestic orders, employment, employment expectations, turnover confidence and profitability confidence all stand at all-time highs.

Responses from nearly 8,000 businesses, show improvements in most areas for both the manufacturing and service sectors.

However, BCC warned that “risks persist around access to finance for firms looking to expand”. The survey also shows that, in manufacturing, domestic sales and export orders fell slightly, although these are still high by historical standards.

Manufacturing cashflow fell back too, underscoring the need, says BCC, to promote access to finance, so businesses can expand to meet growing order books.

Manufacturing respondents indicated their Intention to raise prices and pointed to inflation as a major area of concern.

Commenting on the results, BCC director general John Longworth (pictured) said it was “fantastic to start the New Year with a very positive quarterly survey and that it was “especially pleasing that the spurt in the manufacturing has proven not to be a fluke, which demonstrates the dynamism of our small, high value, manufacturing sector.”

Chief economist David Kern added the warning: “The eurozone’s basic problems have not yet been resolved, which could adversely impact our exporters, and inflation remains a major concern.”

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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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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