As a number of business surveys have suggested already, the manufacturing sector entered 2014 with a fair amount of momentum behind it.
- Output across manufacturing was up 0.4% in January,
- The year on year pace of expansion was pushed up to 2.2%.
Positively, growth in the sector was seen across a majority of sub-sectors in January. The chart below shows that, while the picture isn't universally positive, strength was seen in sectors from machinery and transport to plastics and non-metallic minerals.
Manufacturing sector showing many signs of strength% month on month change in outputSource: National Statistics
The widespread signs of growth suggest there are a number of factors driving growth in manufacturing. These include improving investment intentions as well as a brighter construction outlook, continuing strength from domestic demand and an improving export picture. The sector is on track for a fourth consecutive quarter of growth and we are forecasting a 0.8% increase in manufacturing output 2014q1.