Major industries primed to grow

BOTH manufacturing and services are set to continue growing into next year, according to a series of reports on the state of the British economy released this morning.

The UK’s factories will see stronger growth than the wider economy during 2014, according to manufacturers’ body EEF, and accountancy firm BDO.

The organisation found that firms are increasingly confident, with a rising backlog of orders.

The manufacturing sector is set for growth of 2.7 per cent in the next year. The rest of the economy is forecast to grow at a slightly slower pace of 2.4 per cent.

Lee Hopley, EEF chief economist, commented: “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.”

She added: “This increased confidence is evident in companies looking to increase their headcount and, most importantly for balanced growth, step up their investment.”

In the year ahead, 27 per cent of firms now expect to increase the amount they invest, the highest level that the EEF has recorded in six years.

According to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco), recruitment in the services sector, the UK’s largest, is also thriving, especially in professional services.

In financial and accounting businesses, placements are up 18.1 per cent year on year.

“With the professional services sector on the up, coupled with increased optimism from employers and employees alike, it’s perhaps finally time to remove the word ‘cautiously’ from ‘optimistic’,” added Ann Swain, chief executive of Apsco.