Recent research has found that manufacturing firms report a continued improvement in global demand and a resurgence in the UK market, with European Union (EU) countries offering good prospects for growth.
Research from EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, found that manufacturing activity had “stepped up a gear” in 2017, providing the industry with momentum continuing into this year.
The survey found that two-thirds of manufacturers see the EU as offering good prospects for growth, with the “next best” markets being Asia and North America, according to around a quarter of the firms surveyed.
This snapshot of the manufacturing sector, which makes up about 10 per cent of the UK economy, showed a balance of +30 per cent of survey respondents reporting an increase in output and total orders for the first three months of 2018.
Although this reading was slightly down from the +34 per cent recorded for the previous quarter, the EEF said it represented a reading above the long-running average in the survey.
The survey also showed that manufacturers are planning to increase recruitment and investment as a result of the positive global economic condition, although the organisation warned that investment could be an issue due to the uncertainty around Brexit negotiations.
A spokeswoman for the EEF said that the importance of European markets shows it is essential that the Government seeks a Brexit deal that maintains trading agreements.
She added growing overseas demand is encouraging international manufacturers to ramp up their investment, which is spurring on particularly strong activity in UK capital goods.
However, she warned that while this will help top line growth in UK industry and the wider economy, it is essential that the UK is not left behind in the global race to increase investment and adopt new technology.