30 000 factory jobs lost each month

Around 30,000 UK factory jobs are being axed each month as beleaguered manufacturers struggle to cope with the deepening recession, industry figures have revealed.

Around 30,000 UK factory jobs are being axed each month as beleaguered manufacturers struggle to cope with the deepening recession, industry figures have revealed.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) said the rate of factory job cuts was "astonishing" in the final three months of 2008 - the highest level seen in at least 17 years.

And the pace of job losses had even picked up pace in January, according to the latest CIPS survey.

The CIPS/Markit index of overall activity in the sector for January came in at 35.8 - marginally better than expected, but well below the 50 score which signals industry growth.

CIPS director of professional practice Roy Ayliffe said: "Purchasing managers in the UK manufacturing sector reported an anaemic opening to 2009 with record falls in unemployment as factory jobs were cut at an astonishing rate of 30,000 per month."

The CIPS survey follows official figures in January which confirmed the UK's recession and reported a 4.6% quarter-on-quarter fall in manufacturing output in the last three months of 2008.

Purchasing managers reported especially weak conditions at home due to the crises faces by construction, car and retail sectors - while exporters failed to gain from a weaker pound due to the economic difficulties faced by the UK's trading partners.

"While the weaker sterling exchange rate acted as a precarious crutch to prop up new export orders in January, benefits were far offset by the downturn in global demand," Mr Ayliffe added.

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