UK industrial output rises for fifth straight month
Manufacturing in the UK is still showing signs of recovery, after ONS figures shows industrial production on the rise again.
The UK economic outlook has been improving of late, with a series of reports showing that activity is firmly on the rise. New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published yesterday, 10 June, show that April was yet another positive month for the manufacturing sector in particular.
According to the latest Index of Production estimates, manufacturing output rose by 0.4 per cent in April from the previous month, marking the fifth month of expansion in a row. But the annual rate of growth was even more impressive at 4.4 per cent.
After a difficult few years during the financial crisis, with slack demand from the struggling Eurozone holding down exports, it appears that the UK’s factories are returning to life.
However, at seven per cent below the pre-recession peak achieved in the first three months of 2008, it seems the sector still has plenty of catching up to do.
Perhaps as a result of recent contract wins and infrastructure project announcements, transport equipment was the biggest driver of growth. Computer, electronic and optical products were not far behind, as a testament to the UK’s technology and IT expertise. Rubber, plastic and non-metallic mineral products took third place.
Neil Prothero, deputy chief economist at manufacturer’s association EEF, says that the figures demonstrate how important industry is to the nation’s economic performance.
“The rebalancing story clearly has a long way to run but, underpinned by solid demand at home the manufacturing sector is firmly on track to record its strongest performance in many years,” he added.
Manufacturing was one of the biggest contributors to a healthy increase in total industrial production overall, which increased by 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis and three per cent year-on-year – the biggest annual increase since 2011.
All main production sectors saw an increase with the exception of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that the government must increase its efforts to rebalance the economy in favour of exports if it is to keep the economic recovery on track.
“To build on these figures, it is imperative that further steps are taken to broaden the recovery towards investment and exports, where manufacturing can have a positive impact. The government must keep boosting efforts to support UK exporters and improve access to finance for growing firms,” said BCC chief economist David Kern.