Article Source: IMechE

A survey of more than 240 manufacturers has found a broadly positive outlook, with 52% of firms in the sector expecting to increase their staff numbers.

The survey, conducted for the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Manufacturing Barometer, found that the same proportion are more positive about the UK economy than this time last year, and four in ten (43%) expect Britain’s exit from the European Union to have a positive impact on their business.

The manufacturing industry, which employs more than 2.6m people in the UK, is more optimistic than other major sectors such as construction, financial services and retail. Manufacturers also reported that wages are set to increase, with 84% planning to award pay rises over the coming year. Almost half (47%) are expecting a rise in business activity over the next 12 months.

“The data reflects a sector set for further expansion, something reflected in the optimism and ambition to create new jobs,” said Dave Atkinson, UK head of manufacturing at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Atkinson said manufacturing was a true engine of growth, adding: “The evidence is that manufacturers are investing into new markets and research and development. Encouragingly, export levels also seem to be robust, even as the pound has strengthened since the start of the year, suggesting that overseas trade levels haven’t been predicated solely on weaker sterling.”

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