ENGINEERING INDUSTRY PERKS UP SLIGHTLY
For the first time in two years, Scotland’s engineering industry appears to be offering hope for the future.
According to our latest Quarterly Review of the industry, there has been an improvement in orders, output and staffing in the final quarter of 2016. Though, after seven quarters of negative results, this improvement can be seen as coming from a fairly low base.
While the rest of the UK’s manufacturing sector appears to be growing at a greater rate than Scotland’s, Bryan Buchan, our CEO, explained: “We are not yet seeing the benefit of the weak pound due to the simple fact that, excluding oil and gas, the UK accounts for £48bn of Scotland’s total exports, compared to £11.6bn to the EU and £15.2bn to the rest of the world.
“What may provide a benefit to the Scottish manufacturing engineering sector is the decision by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement to increase spending on infrastructure and productivity. However, that is for the future and our industry needs more orders in the short and medium term.”
The Review figures show that if order intake for the last three months (39%up, 26%same, 35%down) is compared with the industry’s forecast for the next quarter (22%up, 60%same, 18%down) there is a similar positive four-point result. This is also reflected in output figures as the last quarter shows (33%up, 45%same, 22%down) compared with an improving forecast for the next quarter (36%up, 42%same, 22%down).
Staffing levels show that the number of employees (22%up, 65%same, 13%down) has increased quite substantially more than the overtime levels (29%up, 44%same, 27%down).