Yorkshire's manufacturers accelerate growth plans as prospects improve

Library image of workers at a manufacturing companyLibrary image of workers at a manufacturing company
Library image of workers at a manufacturing company
Yorkshire manufacturers are accelerating their growth plans as prospects become “significantly more positive” for the rest of the year, according to a major survey published today by Make UK and business advisory firm BDO.

After suffering a 10% decline in output in 2020, the sector is now set to recover a significant amount of lost ground in 2021 and outpace the growth of the overall economy, the survey said.

According to Make UK, the region’s manufacturers have been boosted by the strong demand for steel-related products for sectors such as construction, together with the re-opening of hospitality.

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Make UK has upgraded its growth forecast for manufacturing from +3.9% to +7.8%, ahead of its forecast for GDP overall of +7.5%.

June Smith, the regional director for Make UK in the North, said: “Manufacturing growth is now firmly accelerating as restrictions have been eased and economies around the globe have started to open up.

“Looking forward there seems no reason to believe that this will not continue assuming the shackles come firmly off in the second half of the year. However, given we are coming from a very low base.. we have to bear in mind that there was bound to be a rubber band impact this year.”

The headline NatWest Yorkshire & Humber Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-on-month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – registered 63.7 in May, down slightly from a near-record high of 64.3 in April.

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Richard Topliss, chairman of NatWest North Regional Board, commented: “Latest PMI data suggested that the recovery in economic conditions across Yorkshire and the Humber was upheld in May.

“The region continued to outperform the UK as a whole for activity amid a sustained rise in the latest survey period, as well as a record increase in new business. As demand conditions remained favourable, private sector firms raised staffing levels at the fastest pace in nearly 25 years of data collection.”

“That said, one area of concern remains the further acceleration of input prices, which contributed to the steepest rise in prices charged for goods and services since the series began."

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