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The latest quarterly survey from the EEF manufacturers’ association has reported that, for the first time since the start of 2010, more respondents replied “NO” than “YES” when asked whether they planned to hire and invest more in the next 12 months.
The survey did not ask whether they planned to cut jobs or investment.
Lee Hopley, the EEF’s chief economist, said the “downbeat mood” seemed to be spreading through the sector. “The fact that this is contributing to manufacturers pulling back their employment and investment plans adds to the concerns about the sector going into next year,” she said.
Manufacturers who sell their products to emerging markets are having a particularly bad time.
JCB, the world’s fourth biggest maker of diggers, reported a sharp fall in machine orders around the world in September, particularly in emerging economies such as Brazil and China.
Not every manufacturing sector is struggling: those most closely linked to consumer spending, such as food and drink and cars, continue to do well. The chemical and pharmaceuticals sectors are also set for a better year, according to the EEF.
Financial times 7th Dec 2015 (Sarah O'Connor)