A 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