MAS survey says Plymouth's manufacturers should be optimistic on future turnover
THE South West's small and medium sized manufacturers are becoming increasingly optimistic with many expecting to invest and reap increased turnover in the next six months, a survey says.
The latest Barometer from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) reveals 64 per cent of 160 West Country respondents expect to boost turnover – a rise of 23 per cent from the same quarter last year.
Manufacturers' confidence is further reflected by investment intentions, with 47 per cent of respondents expecting to increase investment in machinery over the next half year, a six per cent increase on last quarter.
The forecasts are further bolstered by sales results with 52 per cent of firms reporting an increase in turnover within the past six months, another rise from the previous quarter.
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This is higher than the sales figure of 43 per cent reported by the national MAS Barometer.
Furthermore, 48 per cent of manufacturers went on to report an increase in order books, 42 per cent also reporting higher inquiry levels.
Simon Howes, MAS area director for South England, said: "It is reassuring to see so many of our manufacturers forecasting an increase in turnover given both the UK overall economic contraction in the final quarter of 2012 as revealed by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) and the ongoing concerns surrounding recovery in the eurozone.
"This demonstrates the resolve of manufacturers in the region as well as illustrating that many are still finding opportunities to grow."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Manufacturing is a key driver in our economy, which is why it takes centre stage in the Industrial Strategy for growth.
"It is vital that Government and industry continue to work together to address growth priority issues like access to finance and attracting young people into the sector."
The MAS Barometer provides a snapshot of trends affecting manufacturing SMEs, as well as an overview of economic conditions and issues faced by the sector.
MAS is funded by the Government to provide support for manufacturers, including those in Plymouth, to help them to improve and grow.