UK manufacturing confidence holds firm, according to report

A new report suggests confidence among UK manufacturing businesses has held up over the last six months despite concerns over the eurozone crisis and slow UK growth.

The twice-yearly Business in Britain report from Lloyds TSB Commercial, which canvasses the views of more than 250 UK manufacturing businesses, shows that confidence among manufacturing companies remained unchanged at 18 per cent, which has held firm since January 2012.

Despite the continuing tough economic challenges, manufacturing confidence remained stronger than the all-sector average of 12 per cent.

Overall sales in the sector for the past six months were disappointing, with the net balance of manufacturing businesses showing a seven per cent reduction from 27 to 20 per cent. Despite this, manufacturing remains the best-performing sector, with overall sales in the past six months falling from nine to 14 per cent.

Manufacturing businesses expect to at least maintain current staffing levels over the coming six months, with six per cent of manufacturing respondents saying that they would be likely to increase headcount within their businesses this year.

This positivity towards employment intentions is also in line with the report’s findings that manufacturing businesses have the strongest capital spending intentions for the coming six months. Three per cent of businesses in the sector signalled that they would be likely to invest in the business during the remainder of 2012.