Manufacturing demand is still well below normal, according to last week’s Confederation of British Industry monthly trends figures.
The CBI members survey found order book volume is still in negative balance at -16%, but has improved considerably from -47% last November, with export orders picking up from -51% a year ago to -35%.
Economists believe the survey, along with official figures, points to a turnaround in exports.
Car production looked healthy in October and reached 155,000 units, an increase of 4% on the same month last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
However, the manufacturing sector’s share of overall investment in the UK slipped again this quarter to 15.24% at £4.2bn. Business investment overall fell by 1.3% to £27.7bn following a steady climb since the first quarter of 1997.
A long-view by the CBI of the UK economy also shows that the manufacturing sector’s share of the UK’s gross domestic product has shrunk from 23% in 1990 to 19.7% in 1998. The financial sector’s slice of the economy has climbed from 23% at the start of the decade to 27%.