Manufacturing growth in the West Midlands has slowed sharply, according to new research.
The balance of companies reporting increased output fell from plus-30 per cent to plus-14 per cent in the last quarter, according to the Q4 2011 Manufacturing Outlook survey published today by the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountancy firm BDO.
In the last three months the region’s output fell behind the North West and North East, despite total orders for manufacturing firms in the West Midlands rising by a balance of five per cent.
Across the UK, export orders have continued to drive much of this with plus-10 per cent of companies seeing overseas demand continue to rise against a flat domestic market.
This has been reflected in job prospects with recruitment intentions in the West Midlands for the last quarter remaining strong at plus-21 per cent – above the long term national average – researchers said.
They also said the outlook for the first quarter of 2012 looks gloomy as manufacturers are predicting falling output and orders.
This increasing economic uncertainty is reflected across all UK regions and, as a result, the EEF has downgraded its forecast for manufacturing growth for 2012 to just 0.9 per cent, down from its previous forecast of 2.2 per cent
Richard Halstead, EEF Midlands regional director, said: “Manufacturing has been a key pillar in the recovery so far and it looks like the sector will still end the year with positive output and orders’ responses posted over the past quarter. However, short-term confidence has all but fallen away.”