Recovery in sight for small manufacturers

Let’s face it, Monday mornings are never the easiest – but for the UK’s manufacturers, at least, today should be less of a struggle than usual, after new figures revealed the rate of decline in orders among small manufacturers has slowed.

According to a report by employers’ organisation the CBI, while orders are still down, they are down less from last quarter – which gives at least a tentative nod in the direction of recovery for the sector.
The survey found orders are still down by more than a third – not as bad as the 51% reported during the last quarter, the worst figure since the survey began more than 20 years ago.

Firms are now more optimistic about their prospects than they have been since 2007, with almost a third saying they expect the number of overseas suppliers placing orders to rise during the next quarter.

“So far, the relative weakness of Sterling has not provided firms with much of an export boost,” said Russel Griggs, chairman of the CBI’s small and medium enterprise council.

“It is therefore encouraging that medium-sized companies are hopeful overseas orders will pick up in the next quarter, helping raise total orders and output,” he said.

Despite the encouraging signs, manufacturers have still continued to ‘reduce headcount’, as the CBI helpfully euphemised, with 40% making redundancies and just 8% taking on staff – which shows while manufacturers may be choosing to look on the bright side, it’s going to be a long, slow recovery.

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