UK factory sector continues to drive recovery forwards

Julian Harris
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BRITISH manufacturing has boosted the economy by growing for nine straight months, official data showed yesterday.

The sector expanded by 0.6 per cent from September to October and was 5.8 per cent up on the same period last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The rate of growth was the fastest since March and twice as high as anticipated by economists.

The sector accounts for 12.8 per cent of GDP, according to Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.

“The more forward looking elements of the surveys offer hope that the manufacturing sector will start off 2011 well,” he said.

Overall industrial production for October was down by 0.2 per cent on the previous month, yet this was affected by extremely volatile industries such as mining, said analysts.

Industrial production was up by 3.3 per cent against October 2009.

Employment in the sector rose for eight straight months, according to the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) released by Markit last week.

And on Monday EEF data showed manufacturing output “remaining at record levels for the third quarter in succession”.

“Manufacturers are ending the year on a high,” said EEF’s Lee Hopley.