Manufacturing News, March 2018

Staffordshire excavator manufacturer JCB is creating 600 production jobs as it looks to meet global demand for its famous products. The jobs will be created over the next three months, with 200 available immediately.


The company said a strong order book had prompted the need for the additional workers, with positions available for welders, paint sprayers and assemblers.



In addition to the 600 production line opportunities, JCB said it also had vacancies for more than 100 permanent employees in engineering and other staff professions at its various sites.





UK manufacturers are lifting overall UK business output according to the latest Business Trends Report by BDO. BDO’s Output Index, which tracks GDP growth in the past month, increased to 99.78 from 99.63. Business output has now risen for the past two consecutive months and is edging closer to the long-term growth trend of 100. The increase has been driven by a sharp improvement in UK manufacturing output, despite the sector only making up around one tenth of total economic output.


BDO’s manufacturing output sub-index rose more than three points to 103.85 in February from 100.67, which is well above the long-term growth trend. This is the highest reading the manufacturing sub-index has recorded in seven months. Over the past year, manufacturers have benefited from strong world trade growth and a weaker pound, which has made their goods more price competitive for overseas buyers.


In contrast, the output of the UK’s services sector continues to slow. BDO’s output sub index fell from 99.50 to 99.26 in February, falling further below the long-term growth trend but still above the point of contraction, under 95. The index has now been hovering below 100 since September last year, suggesting that companies in the services sector are struggling to improve performance.


British businesses remain optimistic about their growth over the next six months. BDO’s Optimism Index, which indicates how firms expect output to develop in the coming six months, increased to 102.29 from 102.09. This can be attributed in part to falling inflation, reducing input costs for businesses. BDO’s Inflation Index, which is a composite of consumer price and input price inflation, fell from 101.15 to 99.02.






The upturn in the UK manufacturing sector dipped during February, but more encouragingly he latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) has also shown increased overseas sales and further job creation.


Manufacturing production increased at the slowest pace for 11 months in February; with decelerations seen across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods sectors, the new PMI has shown. The trend in new orders rose at a faster pace than in January. Companies indicated that domestic demand strengthened, while new export business rose at a solid (albeit slower) pace. New export business rose for the 22nd successive month in February. Where an increase was reported, this was linked to improved sales to clients in the US, China, Europe, Brazil and East Asia.


UK manufacturers’ outlook also remained positive in February. Almost 56% of companies forecast that output would be higher in one year’s time, compared to only 6% expecting a decline.

Business confidence was linked to planned expansions, rising new order inflows, new product launches, investment activity and marketing efforts. Moreover, the degree of positive sentiment remained close to January’s 28-month high.


The combination of ongoing expansion and expected future output growth encouraged further job creation at UK manufacturers in February. Employment rose for the 19th month in a row, with the rate of expansion the second-fastest since mid-2014. The increase in capacity aided efforts to reduce backlogs of work, which fell for the second straight month.


Rising demand also underpinned a further increase in manufacturers’ purchasing activity during February. The rate of increase in Input buying volumes slowed to an eight-month low.  Companies indicated that rising demand for inputs was causing shortages to develop, leading to further lengthening of average vendor lead times and higher prices charged by suppliers.


Average input costs rose sharply during February, as manufacturers experienced price increases for a broad range of commodities and raw materials.


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