Manufacturing sector on cusp of return to expansion


A “march of the makers” may finally be on the way more than two years after the Chancellor predicted it, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said today.

George Osborne’s March 2011 Budget soundbite was quickly and embarrassingly submerged by the eurozone crisis as eurozone export markets suffered, leaving UK manufacturing shrinking or stagnating in all but one quarter since then. But CIPS’s latest snapshot of manufacturing health, where a score over 50 signals growth, improved to 49.8 in April, putting the sector on the cusp of a return to expansion.

Although firms are still shedding jobs, export orders are rising at their fastest pace since July 2011, boosted by overseas demand for consumer goods like cars and helped by sterling’s decline since the start of the year.

CIPS chief executive David Noble said: “A march of the makers may be on its way following the first rise in export sales for a year with the Americas, Middle East and Australia making up for lacklustre demand in Europe, giving the manufacturing sector something  to savour.”

The better news comes after the UK avoided a triple-dip recession, dampening the chances of more stimulus by the Bank of England.