Confidence among UK manufacturers falls to 7-year low

| August 4, 2008
Confidence among UK manufacturers falls to 7-year low

A survey by the CBI and Experian has revealed that confidence among UK manufacturers has taken a dive throughout the UK, as companies are facing steep rising cost pressures with output expected to fall over the next few months.

The index of business optimism fell to -40 in the three months to July, this represented the weakest figure for 7 years.

The survey showed that the Scotland and the West Midlands are likely to be the worst affected while Northern Ireland, Wales and Yorkshire will continue to fare well.

Approximately 70% more companies in the North West reported a fall rather than a rise in optimism for the three month period to October, while a balance of 67% of companies in the West Midlands expected conditions to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, 62% of companies in Yorkshire and the Humber reported a fall rather than a rise in optimism for the three month period to October, while the figure was 53% in London and the South East.

Manufacturers in Northern Ireland were the most optimistic, with just 6% more reporting a fall in optimism rather than a rise.

With regard to employment, the majority of regions are expecting considerable job losses over the next few months as demand slows.

According to Lai Wah Co, the CBI’s head of economic analysis, manufacturing confidence has plunged over the last three months. The rise in oil and other raw material prices has pushed costs up considerably.

In the meantime, research published today shows that concerns about job security are rising.

A survey carried out by Lloyds TSB revealed that two out of three people believe that general employment prospects were worse than a year ago.

Commenting on the findings, Trevor Williams of Lloyds said concerns of job security will almost certainly have an impact on consumer’s willingness to spend, which will hit the economy.

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