The spreading effects of sterling can be seen in most of the latest trends data from the Engineering Employers’ Federation. Currency movements are restraining domestic demand and output growth is slowing.
Firms reporting an increase in new order intake weakened markedly in the second quarter and is only marginally positive at 3%. The figures show a clear decrease in the level of UK orders.
Manufacturers in Northern Ireland reported the best output levels, with 33% reporting increasing output volumes, compared with 7% in the West Midlands and 9% in the South.
The EEF figures show less buoyant investment plans across the country, with just 11% of firms expecting investment to pick up.
Engineering employment growth halted after two and a half years, declining by 13,000 in the first quarter of 1997, says the EEF. Figures from DHL this week show 71% of engineering companies and 60% of high-tech firms are worried about skills levels.
The machine tool sector’s turnover in the three months to May 1997 was down 6.4% on the previous three months. Total orders on hand fell 6.2% compared with the previous three months.