'March of the makers' at a standstill
Britain's manufacturing sector, which ministers hoped would power the country to a robust economic recovery in a "march of the makers", has gone into reverse, official figures confirmed yesterday.
The Office for National Statistics's seasonally-adjusted index of manufacturing dropped by 0.7 per cent in October, the biggest monthly fall since April. The ONS production index – which includes energy and mining companies – also declined by 0.7 per cent over the month.
The fall in manufacturing output was led by contractions in metals, repair industries and pharmaceuticals. Warm weather also resulted in a sharp fall in energy production, with gas and electricity output down 4.9 per cent.
Manufacturing has eked out growth of just 0.3 per cent over the past year. The industrial sector as a whole is now 1.7 per cent below where it was in October 2010. Analysts warned that manufacturing contraction, after weak figures from the services sector, meant Britain was likely to experience a double-dip recession.
"This is another release in a long line of weak data," said Nida Ali, of the Ernst and Young Item club. "We expect the economy to stagnate at best but a decline in GDP is looking increasingly likely."
The manufacturing slump is especially disappointing news for the Chancellor. In his Budget speech in March, George Osborne boasted that manufacturing was growing at a record rate and said he wanted the UK to be "carried aloft by the march of the makers".
0.7 per cent
The fall in manufacturing output in October – the biggest fall since April.
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...