Jobs on the cards as smaller manufacturers feel more optimistic


by business editor Trevor Sturgess

Smaller manufacturers are feeling more optimistic, with order books filling up and plans to take on more workers.

The CBI’s latest SME (Small Manufacturing Enterprises) Trends Survey found that business sentiment among the UK’s small and medium-sized manufacturers has risen for the first time since mid-2011.

Orders and production are expected to grow solidly over the next quarter.

Kent and the south east is now the second largest manufacturing region in the UK - just behind the north west and representing 7% of the regional economy.

It employs 300,000 people and generates 13% of the UK economy.

More firms report growth in the volume of total new orders in both domestic and export markets and expect faster growth over the next three months.

SMEs also expect to take on more people in the next quarter after holding headcount steady in the three months to April. They also plan increased investment.

However, SMEs remain concerned about economic uncertainty.

Lucy Armstrong, chair of the CBI’s SME council, said: "Small and medium-sized manufacturers are feeling more optimistic for the first time in a year, an encouraging development given the important role that they play in our economy."

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