EEF’s Q4 outlook survey shows fall in manufacturing activity

Manufacturing activity has fallen back in the last quarter in response to growing economic uncertainty in major markets, feeding through to an easing in investment and recruitment intentions, according to a major survey released today by manufacturers’ organisation EEF and business advisers BDO.

The Q4 Manufacturing Outlook survey showed that growth remained positive, but output and orders balances have dropped from historic highs at the beginning of the year to levels closer to their long-run average.

However, prospects are mixed by company size and sector and there is clear divergence in markets, with exports continuing to grow while the domestic market remains flat.

Looking forward, the survey shows clear concerns about future prospects with a contraction in order books expected in home and overseas markets in the next three months. As a result, EEF has downgraded its forecasts for manufacturing to 0.9 per cent growth in 2012.