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SME manufacturers remain on course to deliver growth
Do you want the good news, or the bad news? That opening question should make it clear that although we like to write about the parallels between sport and business, this article isn’t about the record-breaking performance produced by Stuart Broad in the Ashes match at Nottingham. Rather more prosaically, the good news and the bad news comes from a CBI SME trends survey.
The good news is that SME manufacturers remain on course to deliver growth. New domestic orders are up and confidence in the manufacturing sector is improving. The bad news is that the pound’s strength is hitting exports although even here the news is not all bad with 18% of those surveyed reporting an increase in exports.
Concentrating on the good news, as it seems to be a good news week, 37% of SME manufacturers say they are more optimistic than three months ago and 30% are employing more staff than they were last quarter, with this trend expected to continue. This has had a knock-on effect in spending on training and innovation which are up by 16% and 11% respectively.
UK manufacturing has been one of the success stories of recent times. The car manufacturing sector saw production volumes in the first half of this year up 50% on 2009. Productivity too is increasing with 2014 productivity up 35% on 2010. Similar successes are being reported in other manufacturing areas as productivity allied to innovation is creating market leading results.