Manufacturers’ confidence still robust despite weak economy

1 min read

The Q1 Manufacturing Outlook survey published by Make UK and business advisory firm BDO suggests that confidence is still strong among manufacturers, despite a weak economy.

The survey, however, shows stark sectoral and regional imbalances, with electronics and aerospace powering ahead, whilst the South East and Wales are performing substantially better than other regions suggesting that levelling up is failing to address regional economic imbalances and could permanently affect the manufacturing sector, hampering future growth.

Make UK re-iterated its call for a long-term industrial strategy and urged all political parties to focus on boosting investment and economic growth as an urgent national priority.

According to the survey, the balance on output fell significantly to +5% from +20% in Q4 last year but is expected to rebound to +31% in the next three months. Total orders remained at +7% but, are expected to improve to +24% in the next three months.

In the last quarter, both UK and export orders were flat at +1% but, looking forward, they are both forecast to improve to +21% and +19% respectively.

Both recruitment and investment intentions remain strong and are expected to increase in the next quarter, according to the survey.

Despite an uplift in confidence Make UK is still forecasting just 0.1% growth in manufacturing this year and a further 0.8% in 2025. A hardly stellar performance!