OUTPUT is increasing and the orders are pouring in for manufacturers in the south east, who are continuing to lead the country out of recession.
A survey published by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountants and business advisory firm BDO LLP, forecasts that the sector will grow by 3.5 per cent this year.
The report also showed that engineering is projected to expand by more than seven per cent this year.
The order books are not purely increasing with domestic sales – firms in the region are also increasing their exports.
The survey reported that nearly nine in ten of the region’s manufacturers reported improving or stable output in the last three months, with 48 per cent benefiting from increased export orders.
EEF south east region director Jim Davison said: ‘South east manufacturers have picked up this year where they left off in 2010, with output increasing and orders growing in domestic and overseas markets.’
But the positive outlook is tempered by uncertainty, especially with regards to significant capital investment projects which companies and the UK economy need to make to boost growth.
The survey shows that caution around the durability of the recovery and the cost of finance, particularly for smaller companies, means solid demand now has not yet translated into the makings of a recovery in investment.
Mr Davison added: ‘The picture for the rest of 2011 still remains uncertain as a number of economic headwinds persist and the potential impact of new geopolitical tensions adds another layer of uncertainty to economic forecasts.
‘Government must recognise that an ongoing recovery cannot now be taken for granted and use every club in the bag to sweep away barriers to growth in the budget.’