Today's Labour Market Statistics showed that, across the economy as a whole, unemployment has continued to fall. The key ILO measure dropped to 6.6%, down from 7.8% a year earlier.
There is also some encouraging news about manufacturing. Workforce jobs in the sector grew by 0.4% in the first quarter of the year, which marks the fifth consecutive quarter of growth, the longest consecutive period of growth since 1995.
This is consistent with our Manufacturing Outlook survey (released earlier this week) which showed that manufacturers were indeed recruiting in the past three months. What is more, the increases in employment were broad-based, with all sizes of companies and nearly all sectors saying that they had expanded employment.
Companies were upbeat about the next three months as well, with a strongly positive balance of 27% of companies saying they expected to expand their workforces in the next three months, just a touch down from last quarter's record-high expectations.
All this suggests that manufacturing employment is on track to expand this year, we're expecting growth of 0.8% with strong-performing sectors such as rubber and plastics and motor vehicles likely to play a key part in this.