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Fortunes improve for small and medium-sized businesses

Small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses in the UK are continuing to see their fortunes improve, according to the latest survey from the CBI. The survey, which reflects the last three months of trade, shows that the output in growth and the increase in orders have continued.

For the fourth consecutive quarter, domestic orders and output both showed vigorous growth and it is expected that the upward trend will continue throughout the next quarter.

Job Creation

There was also good news on the job creation front. In the last quarter small and medium- sized manufacturing companies have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people employed in this sector; last quarter’s figures for employment showed the strongest growth since records began in 1988. However, while firm's optimism was up in the latest survey, it wasn’t as high when compared with the last quarter.

Investment

Smaller manufacturers also stated that they plan to invest in machinery in the next twelve months; however, many of the manufacturers don’t intend to invest in new buildings in the near future.

Export Orders

The one weak point for small and medium-sized manufactures continues to be exports. Exports remained flat in the last quarter. However, many were optimistic that export orders would begin to improve again in the next few months,

Commenting in a press release, Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

"Smaller manufacturers are settling into a regular growth pattern, with their order books and output growing for the fourth consecutive quarter.

"Firms remain upbeat about their business situation and they are hiring at their fastest rate since 1988.

"But export orders have underperformed this quarter, which may in part be because of the strength of Sterling.

"We need the Government to get behind our small and medium-sized manufacturers to help them to sell their products and services to new markets around the world, giving a sustainable boost to long-term growth."

Key Findings

Key Findings from the latest CBI survey showed that 36% of small and medium-sized businesses experienced a growth in orders in the last quarter.

31% of companies said that their order output was on the increase and 16% experienced a decrease.

36% of firms had an increase in domestic orders, but 19% of companies said that their orders fell.

And 34% of companies announced an increase in employment, but 9% said that there had been a fall.

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