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Britain’s manufacturers have seen output surge by three times faster than orders in the last quarter, to +10% from a negative balance in Q3 of -3%. Such an increase is an extremely rare occurrence and potentially a sign of companies re-stocking ahead of next year.

The findings come from this quarter's Manufacturing Outlook survey in partnership with business advisory firm BDO. Early signs in business confidence indicators show a more stable economic scenario is starting to appear after the global uncertainty and domestic political chaos of the last few years.

The survey shows that export orders surpassed domestic orders for the first time in four years suggesting that firms are taking advantage of either faster-growing or new markets, in contrast to the anaemic UK economy.

Recruitment prospects have also rebounded after the previous quarter’s challenges and look strong going forward, although capital investment plans have stalled.

Finally, forecasts for our sector have been revised to now project growth this year.

After the economic and political shocks of the last few years, there is some semblance of stability returning for manufacturers. While growth is not exactly supercharged, the positive announcements in the Autumn Statement can at least allow companies
Fhaheen Khan Senior Economist at Make UK
Manufacturers have been calling on the Government to provide targeted support to help stimulate growth and investment for some time, and it feels like some headway was made in last month’s Autumn Statement.

Firms are ending the year on a relatively stable footing with some certainty at least in the tax environment to support their long-term investments in the UK. The hope now is that the sector can pick up the baton and drive growth.
Richard Austin Head of Manufacturing, BDO

Available resources

Industry report / Make UK