Made in the Midlands News

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Still reasons to be optimistic despite slowing manufacturing growth

Company Image Manufacturers need to understand that while the industry faces a series of challenges in the run-up to the UK’s exit from the EU, there remain opportunities for new business and that firms should not be despondent about latest growth figures.

Made in the Midlands chairman, Lord Whitby said: “The latest GDP figures do tend to suggest that manufacturing is slowing down but people should remember that we have undergone a period of record growth and there are still reasons to be optimistic.

“Manufacturing PMI remains above 50, indicating sustained growth and with opportunities for new trade deals then the message I would convey to MIM members is to remain calm and continue with the solid work that has been completed over the past two years.”

Lord Whitby was commenting following the publication of latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that UK GDP was estimated to have increased by just 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 0.4% for the final quarter of 2017.

Growth was at its lowest since Q4 2012, with construction the worst affected sector, falling 3.3%. The collapse of Wolverhampton-based Carillion in early January is thought to have been a major contributory factor to this.

Production increased by 0.7% during the three-month period - with manufacturing growth slowing to 0.2%. The figure was partially offset by an increase in energy production due to the below-average temperatures.

The service sector made the largest contribution to GDP growth, increasing by 0.3%, although the ONS said the longer term trend continued to suggest a weakening in this sector.

The so-called ‘Beast from the East’ impacted the construction and retail sectors but overall, the ONS said its effects were generally small.