According to the report, released today, 61 per cent of SME manufacturers experienced growth in the three months to March, with 73 per cent expecting sales to increase further within the next six.
As a result of these encouraging signals, 54 per cent of firms are intending to create new jobs over the next half-year, representing the highest level ever recorded by the survey. Additionally, 59 per cent are looking to capitalise on the recent surge in demand by investing in new machinery or premises, with 52 per cent intending to spend on new technology. “This is the clearest signal yet that our manufacturers believe the upturn is sustainable,” commented Head of MAS Steven Barr, reflecting on the news.
“Three record figures for recruitment and investment in machinery and technology suggest many small manufacturers are planning for the long-term and, encouragingly, they are taking action now to manage future expansion.” Business Minister Michael Fallon also shared his thoughts on the report, asserting that supporting burgeoning renaissance in UK manufacturing remains a priority for the government.
“Britain’s manufacturers are helping drive the UK economic recovery,” stated Fallon, adding, “Through our industrial strategy and economic plan, the Government will continue to work closely with this vital sector to ensure that confidence stays high, creating more highly-skilled jobs and a stronger economy for everyone.”
Despite these strong signals for manufacturing sector recruitment, Barr is keen to underline that action must be taken now to invest in developing skilled workers to fulfil these new roles, asserting, “They may find it harder to follow this trend, especially in advanced manufacturing sectors, unless they invest in training and retention.”
Alongside overcoming skills shortages, the Barometer suggests energy costs pose the greatest threat to the productivity of small UK manufacturers, with 59 per cent of businesses seeing their bills rise by 6 per cent or more.
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