Manufacturing growth continues to drive economy

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics have given the UK manufacturing industry cause for optimism.

It has been revealed that factories far exceeded growth expectations for the month of February as the recovery continued to gather pace.

Manufacturing output expanded by 1 percent, its third consecutive monthly rise and its largest increase since last September.

Overall industrial production rose 0.9 percent and saw almost every sub-sector grow.

The strong performance provided hope for those who have been concerned that a recovery led by household spending would be unsustainable.

George Buckley, UK economist at Deutsche Bank, said: “Were industrial production to remain flat in March, then output would be around 1 percent higher in the first quarter than the previous quarter. This in turn, would be the best quarterly performance of the sector since spring 2010.”

Samuel Tombs, of Capital Economics, added that the figures “provide reassurance that the economic recovery has remained strong and broad-based.”

Andrew Nicholson, Managing Director of business improvement consultants Nicholson Consultancy, commented: “We’re seeing a definite upturn with most of our manufacturing clients – in fact, we’re currently helping three UK manufacturers to cope with unprecedented levels of customer demand.

“Successful manufacturers are adopting the principles of Value-Driven Manufacturing – they’re using Lean principles not just to drive down costs but to get closer to their customers and to add more and more value to their overall offering. And in some sectors customers are actively seeking to bring back to the UK products that were previously outsourced to low-wage economies.

“From the point of view of the UK economy we still need to drive up levels of investment and exports but so far the signs are very encouraging”.

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