The Engineering Employers’ Federation last week forecast a sharp slowdown in the economy in 1999, and further deterioration in business conditions for engineering and manufacturing industry.
Engineering output is expected to decline by 1% next year and employment in the sector to fall by up to 7%. The tables show the varying fortunes of the major engineering sectors, as predicted by EEF and consultant Business Strategies.
Worst hit are activities most vulnerable to foreign competition, including mechanical and electrical equipment and metal products, which is forecast to fall 5% next year. Only electronics and other transport equipment sectors are likely to record any growth next year (around 2.5%).
In 1998, all but one of the sub-sectors is expected to see a fall in exports (not shown) ranging up to a loss of 3% in the metal products industry.
Alan Armitage, chief economist at the EEF, said despite a softening of the pound against the DM, the high rate over the last 18 months continued to be the driving force for the fortunes of the engineering sector.
‘The lagged effects of this will continue to feed through now and for most of next year,’ Armitage said.