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Growth continues for SME manufacturers

Small and medium-sized (SME) manufacturers saw another strong quarter of orders and output growth in Q2 2014, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found.

More than a third (36%) of SME manufacturers recorded a rise in new orders and 31% saw output grow.

However, more than a fifth (22%) said the number of orders fell and 16% reported a decline in output.

This is the fourth consecutive quarter that the CBI's SME Trends Survey has recorded growth in manufacturing output and domestic orders.

The report also found that:

  • more than a third (36%) recorded a rise in domestic orders and almost a fifth (19%) said they fell
  • 20% of SMEs reported falling export orders, compared to 18% who saw export orders grow
  • 31% of firms said they were optimistic about their business situation, while 11% expressed doubts
  • 34% reported rising employment and 9% said it decreased.

Katja Hall, deputy director general of the CBI, said:

"Smaller manufacturers are settling into a regular growth pattern, with their order books and output growing for the fourth consecutive quarter.

"Firms remain upbeat about their business situation and they are hiring at their fastest rate since 1988.

"But export orders have underperformed this quarter, which may in part be because of the strength of sterling.

"We need the government to get behind our small and medium-sized manufacturers to help them to sell their products and services to new markets around the world, giving a sustainable boost to long-term growth."

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