Manufacturing sector sees biggest growth spurt for 16 years

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) reveals that, far from facing extinction, our red squirrel has just experienced the highest growth rate since 1994. This November, PMI climbed to 58, compared with a rate of 55.4 in October, smashing analysts' expectations (a PMI over 50 indicates growth).

Interestingly, much of this growth has been achieved through job creation. Data firm Markit, which helped produce the survey, calls the findings "hugely encouraging", especially with looming unemployment and public sector cuts on the horizon.

"The UK PMI surged to a 16-year high in November, confounding the consensus forecast of weaker growth," said Markit's Rob Dobson. "The stand-out number was the survey record increase in employment, raising hopes that job creation in manufacturing can play a wider role in broadening and sustaining the recovery."

A year ago, when the manufacturing industry was experiencing serious decline, experts predicted that there would be no return to form until well into 2011. But opinions are just that: opinions.

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