Confidence among smaller manufacturing firms in the UK is on the rise, despite continuing troubles in the broader economy.
That is according to a new survey produced by the government, which found that more than 50 per cent of smaller firms are expecting sales to increase in the first six months of 2013.
Allied to this, the Manufacturing Advisory Service found that orders are beginning to rise alongside confidence. Some 62 per cent of smaller manufacturing firms in England expect sales turnover to grow between now and the end of June.
This is set to be reflected in recruitment levels too, with the number of firms expecting to increase headcounts set to rise by 39 per cent.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, recently underlined the importance of the manufacturing sector to the British economy.
Speaking ahead of an important industry summit, Dr Cable said: "Manufacturing is a key driver of our economy, which is why it takes centre stage in the industrial strategy for growth.
"As demonstrated in the latest MAS Barometer findings, skills provision remains a concern for many manufacturing SMEs. It's vital, therefore, that the Government and industry continue to work together."
The survey, meanwhile, also revealed that the number of smaller manufacturing firms looking to invest in new buildings and machinery is up three percentage points to 44 per cent.
It found, too, that nearly half of all manufacturers have witnessed an increase in their order books over the past six months, suggesting the industry is on the rise once more.
This comes shortly after a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) confirmed that small businesses and other firms intend to continue recruiting over the coming months.
What's more, Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser at the CIPD, said that businesses are "reluctant to lay off skilled workers".
"The truth is that employers have learnt lessons of the past, where overly quick steps to cut staff led to a loss of talent and damaged the capacity of organisations to recover," he commented.
Posted by Jacob Williams