Survey reveals confidence in the UK manufacturing sector

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ECI Growth Survey 2011 - .PDF file.

UK manufacturing businesses are one of the more confident sectors regarding prospects over the next 12 months, with the vast majority of chief executive officers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed forecasting strong growth.

According to recent research from UK private equity firm ECI Partners, 82 per cent of manufacturing businesses expect to see turnover growth of more than six per cent over the next year, while a quarter are predicting a rise of more than 20 per cent.

Prospects for job creation are claimed to be equally strong, with 79 per cent of manufacturing chief executive officers expecting to add to their companies’ head counts and 24 per cent forecasting growth in employee numbers of more than six per cent.

The positive outlook was detailed in ECI’s second annual Growth Survey, which questioned close to 250 chief executives across the UK about their expectations, aspirations and growth strategies for the year ahead.

Overall, the 2011 respondents were even more bullish about growth prospects than last year, when 68 per cent expected to expand employment over the 12 months.

This year, the figure was 74 per cent, despite predictions of falling private sector employment from media commentators and economists. Private sector employment has already grown by more than 500,000 over the next 12 months, according to ONS data.

ECI’s findings indicate a positive trend among UK growth companies (those with a turnover of between £10m and £200m), which employ more than 7.5 million people, accounting for more than one third of private sector jobs in the UK.

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