Commenting on today’s IoP data, Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“There isn’t too much in the data to lift economic spirits as a small increase in manufacturing output in March doesn’t change the picture of an overall weak start to the year. As ever, it’s a mixed picture across different sectors with a bit more evidence that the sectors hardest hit by the oil price collapse are now bottoming out while construction related sectors seem to be holding up.
“But, in line with the early warning signal from the PMI and the drop in consumer confidence, consumer facing sectors, including motor vehicles, are seeing weaker production trends at the start of the year. Whether this proves to be temporary is yet to be seen but UK manufacturers are far from alone in seeing this trend with other data from Europe suggesting that the industrial recovery is far from secure.”