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News - 27 April 2012

UK manufacturing activity picking up and firms more optimistic.

This is according to the CBI quarterly Industrial Trends Survey.

Of the 394 manufacturers who responded, 35% said that total orders rose, while 26% said that they fell. The resulting balance of +8%, shows that total orders increased modestly in the three months to April, returning to growth rates similar to those seen in the second half of 2011.

Output also showed modest growth in the quarter to April, with a balance of +5%.

The balance of firms reporting they were more optimistic about the general business situation than three months ago (+22%) was at its highest since April 2010 (+24%).

The survey also looked forward over the next three months, with manufacturers expecting both output and orders to grow. It also showed that firms are planning on spending more on innovation and training – both of these show levels not seen since the late 1990’s.

Firms expect to increase headcount in the coming three months (+16%), after an increase in numbers employed in the three months to April (+8%) for the seventh successive quarter.

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