LONDON – British manufacturers, spurred by rapidly increasing new orders, have stepped up their plans for hiring and investment as the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold, an industry survey showed on Monday.
Trade body Make UK and accountants BDO said their quarterly gauge of manufacturing output rose at the fastest pace since the series started 30 years ago, chiming with other business surveys that show an accelerating economic recovery.
While this reflected a “rubber band” effect following the record-low readings seen last year, the strength of the upturn persuaded Make UK to raise its manufacturing growth forecast for 2021 to 7.8% from 3.9% previously.
“Manufacturing growth is now firmly accelerating as restrictions have been eased and economies around the globe have started to open up,” said Fhaheen Khan, senior economist at Make UK.
“Looking forward there seems no reason to believe that this will not continue, assuming the shackles come off firmly in the second half of the year,” he added.
Official data last week showed British manufacturing output in April remained 2.4% below its pre-pandemic level. Make UK estimated it would take until the end of 2022 to regain that level, less time than it had previously thought.
The survey’s gauge of investment intentions showed growth for the first time since early 2020.
“It appears the government’s introduction of the temporary super-deduction tax has provided the incentive manufacturers needed to bring forward their investment plans,” said Richard Austin, head of manufacturing at BDO.
The survey of 276 companies was conducted between May 5 and May 26.