Firms 'able to weather financial storms'

Manufacturing firms are well placed to weather potential economic storms this year, says an engineering employers' group

The EEF group said the sector continued to enjoy a "renaissance" and there were signs that 2007 was its best year in a decade.

Highly skilled jobs were increasing despite the loss of unskilled work, while investment intentions were the best since 1995.

The research by EEF and Grant Thornton found that productivity in manufacturing companies increased by 25 per cent in the past five years.

Around a third of the 800 firms surveyed said China and India offered major business opportunities for the future.

EEF chief economist Steve Radley said: "Manufacturers continued to record healthy growth last year despite a more challenging environment with oil prices rising and the dollar weakening.

"With fears of a recession in United States and turbulence in financial markets, the economic backdrop is likely to become less favourable and growth in manufacturing slower. However, manufacturing's new resilience will leave it much better placed to cope with whatever the economy throws at it this year."

Image: Economic storms gather around industry

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