Manufacturers positive over growth

Growth in manufacturing has eased back to more moderate levels, but firms remain confident about the economic outlook, according to a new study.

Manufacturers are on course for a strong year of output growth in 2014, according to the EEF
Manufacturers are on course for a strong year of output growth in 2014, according to the EEF

A survey of almost 300 companies by the EEF revealed a continued positive picture with ongoing plans to invest in machinery and recruit skilled employees.

Investment intentions have now been positive for 17 consecutive quarters, said the manufacturers' group.

The EEF also issued a warning about exports because of the "flagging" eurozone economy and stronger sterling exchange rate.

EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said: "Manufacturers are still on course for a strong year of output growth in 2014, but our survey points to a moderation in the pace of expansion from the take-off seen in activity over the past year.

"We're also seeing manufacturers continue to recruit for skilled jobs and increase their plans to invest in the coming year, exactly what the UK economy still needs for balanced growth."

Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at accountancy fim BDO, which helped with the report, added: "UK manufacturing cannot insulate itself from global market conditions and this is clearly shown in the dip in output.

"However, growth remains positive and long term investment and employment intentions feel much realistic at these levels."