Manufacturers are increasingly optimistic about their prospects, including job creation, although confidence is clouded by uncertainty over exports, according to a new report.
A survey of more than 300 firms by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF found rising confidence over recruitment and investment plans.
Companies of all sizes hired new staff in recent months, and the EEF forecast that the sector will grow by 2.7% next year, slightly faster than the total economy.
EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said: “Over the course of the year we have seen a definite turnaround in prospects for manufacturing and this looks set to continue into next year. This increased confidence is evident in companies looking to increase their headcount and, most importantly for balanced growth, step up their investment.
“However, uncertainties in the global economy remain and a sustained recovery is not secure.
“As a result, growth must remain a priority for government over the remainder of this parliament, starting with the Autumn Statement this week.”
Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at BDO, which helped with the research, added: “Continued strong demand within the UK domestic market is very encouraging and this does suggest that a sustainable manufacturing recovery has gained a foothold in this country.”
“However, international markets hold the key to a fully-fledged and meaningful improvement for UK manufacturing and these markets remain frustratingly fragile.”