Manufacturers’ confidence dips in third quarter

CONFIDENCE for the future has dipped among small and medium sized manufacturers, despite rising factory output.

While orders rose in the three months to July, according to a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) survey, exports order slowed, with total orders “set to be broadly flat over the next three months”.

The gloomy news for the UK’s factory industry comes after a separate survey last week showed the sector going into decline.

“Sentiment has fallen for the first time in two years,” said the CBI’s Lucy Armstrong. Across all manufacturing SMEs, more were pessimistic about their business situation than optimistic. The results mark an ominous turning point for the sector; in the previous two three-month periods, a positive balance of manufacturers were optimistic about prospects.

Factory owners also face the prospect of higher wages for their staff, according to a separate survey conducted for the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). The number of jobs advertised in the sector was up 50 per cent in July compared to the same time last year, APSCo said, while also citing a shortage of skills in the UK.