Manufacturers show optimism


South west manufacturers are optimistic for what lies ahead in 2010 according to findings released in a new business index.

The results show that those surveyed anticipate increased sales within the manufacturing sector and conditions are expected to improve in the New Year.

The South West Manufacturing Barometer, compiled by the Manufacturing Advisory Service in the South West (MAS-SW), reveals that 54% of manufacturers in the region have seen a rise in enquiry levels compared to six months ago. However, 35% expect enquiry levels to remain stable and 51% are expecting to see an increase in sales over the next six months.

The South West Manufacturing Barometer is due to take place every quarter and has been specially designed to collate information from manufacturing businesses in the south west on the economic climate and emerging trends within the sector. The study revealed:

• 65.5% of businesses say that jobs are safe while 22% predict an increase in staff numbers

• 36% have seen increased sales over the past six months with 21% expecting their order books to remain healthy

• 40% will invest in new machinery and or new premises while 30% will invest in new technology

• 68% believe that the emerging low carbon market will have no impact on their business

Simon Howes, business development director for MAS-SW, said: “It is really encouraging to see such a positive outlook from manufacturers in the South West at the end of what has been a tough year for many. It is great to see that manufacturers in the region are anticipating that jobs will be safe and that businesses are looking to invest in their future.

“We will be using this information to guide our work with local businesses and stakeholder groups to improve awareness of emerging opportunities in low carbon markets and to capitalise on the region’s status as a Low Carbon Economic Area.”