Surveys show signs of UK upturn

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The Independent Online
THERE ARE encouraging signs of an upturn in UK manufacturing industry, according to the results of two surveys released today, writes John Murray.

July saw an expansion of jobs in manufacturing for the first time in two years, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (Cips) said.

Its employment index, collated from information from Britain's purchasing managers, rose above 50 per cent for the first time in the two-year history of the survey. UK purchasing managers collectively spend more than pounds 750bn a year, according to the Cips.

The main index, which indicates trends in purchasing, has recorded a level above 50 per cent for six successive months.

Britain's smaller manufacturers plan to spend more on plant and machinery over the next year, according to a separate poll by the Confederation of British Industry.

The smaller companies survey also provides more optimism on employment, indicating that job losses have bottomed out. A majority of those surveyed expect small increases in staffing over the coming four months.

But the turbulence in the currency markets and the deepening recession on the Continent appear to have dented export confidence. A majority of respondents still expect to increase exports, but the figure is sharply down from the last two surveys.