DEMAND from European markets has led to manufacturers in Yorkshire and the Humber starting 2018 in the same upbeat manner they left last year, says a new study.

The upturn is due to the continued improvement in global demand together with a pick-up in the UK market, according to a major survey published by manufacturers’ organisation EEF, formerly the Engineering Employers’ Federation, and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

The manufacturing outlook first quarter survey found that firms were continuing to ignore the ongoing political uncertainty at home as improved global demand, from European markets in particular, continues to feed growth across most of the manufacturing supply chain.

Forecasts for manufacturing for this year and next have also been upgraded, meaning the sector will again outperform the economy overall throughout this year.

According to the survey, whilst both output and total orders dipped slightly from the end of last year, they remained in very positive territory by historic standards at +29 per cent and +32 per cent respectively.

Yorkshire and Humber companies also forecast a +30 per cent recruitment, while investment intentions more than doubled from the previous quarter to +23 per cent.

EEF has upgraded its forecasts for the sector to +2.0 per cent from 1.4 per cent.

This is faster than the UK economy overall where EEF is forecasting growth of 1.5 per cent in 2018.

Next year there is expected to be slower growth across the economy and manufacturing, with expansion of 1.3 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively.


Richard Halstead, director of member engagement for EEF in the North, said: “Manufacturing activity stepped up a gear through 2017, providing industry with some decent momentum coming into this year.

“The importance of a buoyant global economy to export-focused manufacturing sectors is again reinforced, with growing overseas demand encouraging international manufacturers to ramp up their investment, which in turn is spurring particularly strong activity in UK capital goods sectors.”