The ONS Q2 fall in manufacturing is due to a significant drop in the manufacture of cars. Elsewhere it’s a different picture if you read the new CBI Quarterly Trends survey, a long-standing survey of 397 blue-chip manufacturers which shows the state of Britain PLC. This quarter is astounding when you remember the predictions of economic disaster rolled out by George Osborne last year. The numbers are awesome:
- 32% of manufacturers said employee numbers with headcount increasing at the fastest rate for three years and hiring intentions for the coming quarter also improved.
- Expectations for growth in export orders improved to a four-decade high.
- Export optimism is strong, 43% of firms said the volume of output over the past three months was up – the highest since January 1995.
- 35% of businesses reported an increase in total orders.
- Domestic orders were up +19%, with export orders growth remaining strong at +17%.
- Alongside robust expectations for demand, firms accumulated raw materials at the fastest pace in forty years and stocks of work-in-progress expanded at a record rate. Strong confidence levels saw stock building of raw materials (+20%) which was the strongest since April 1977 (+22%), whilst stocks of work-in-progress rose (+16%).
By any measure these are good numbers, in the context of Osborne’s predictions for an immediate economic collapse, job losses, a collapse of business confidence and investment, these numbers are awesome. Reading the FT you’d never know it…