Manufacturing SMEs in the West Midlands are still reporting increased sales and predicting future growth despite recent reports of an industry downturn.
A total of 43 per cnet of respondents to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) National Barometer have seen orders grow in the last six months, with 45 per cent anticipating a further upturn between now and the end of the year.
More than a third of the companies surveyed are looking to create new jobs, 49 per cent are expecting the size of their workforce to stay the same and 85 per cent are looking to boost their turnover through exporting.
In line with recent surveys, there does appear to be a softening in the marketplace with only 41 per cent of respondents seeing an increase in enquiries, compared with 62 per cent in the last Barometer.
The number of companies considering investment in new machinery and premises over the next six months is also down from 56 per cent to 43 per cent.
Rachel Eade from MAS said: “The results are still showing positive signs of growth and expansion, although there are indications among SME manufacturers in the West Midlands of a more cautious outlook going forward.
“This is not unexpected when you consider the recent economic forecasts and, historically, it takes a little longer for the slowdown to cascade its way down the supply chain and to the smaller companies.”
Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “This latest MAS Barometer shows that many small manufacturing firms across the UK are growing and expect to continue to grow despite the challenging wider economic environment.
“The Government is committed to helping manufacturers make the most of the opportunities for growth and job creation through our continued investment in MAS.”