Commenting on today’s PMI data, Seamus Nevin, Chief Economist at Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“Today may be April Fool’s Day but this result is no joke. A PMI score of 47.8 amidst the ongoing Covid19 outbreak is a sign of just how hard manufacturers have been hit.
“Many firms have had to shut and lots of those that remain open have seen orders or output suffer. Others have switched to making products that are vital to the national attempt to stop the spread of the virus; a testament to why backing manufacturing is so important.
“At the start of this year manufacturing companies reported unprecedented optimism about investment and trade but that had all been swept away by current events. With estimates suggesting up to a fifth of smaller firms could go out of business in the next few months Coronavirus has highlighted the need to maintain and develop our domestic manufacturing base. The Chancellor has rightly intervened to help but even still costs are going up. A 6.2% increase in the national living wage came into effect this morning. With expectations of further restrictions and economic disruption to come Business optimism is that a record low and may continue to worsen in the months ahead”