The manufacturing sector leads the way for output in February according to the latest figure released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Across the 13 manufacturing sub-sectors, nine of them showed growth compared to the same time last year. The biggest increase in a single sub-sector was from the transport equipment manufacturing sector which saw an increase of 6.1% compared to last year.
Compared to January 2015 there was a 0.1% increase in total output in February 2015. Of the four major sectors, three of them saw growth, with manufacturing leading the way thanks to an increase in output of 0.4%.
Accordibng to the ONS, the main components contributing to the month-on-month increase were the manufacture of transport equipment, the manufacture of machinery & equipment not elsewhere classified, and the manufacture of basic metals & metal products.
Compared to their pre-financial crisis figures for the three months leading up to February 2015, production and manufacturing were down by 10.4% and 4.9% respectively. Despite the positive increase the figure that was forecast by analysts was 0.3%.
Many analysts have said that the recent figures do not bode well for the UK economy as it looks like the UK economy is slowing down compared to 2014, where there was overall growth of 2.8%. Some of the statistics that make for less enjoyable reading include the output for oil and gas production, which fell sharply, and in the construction sector that, despite a forecasted growth of 2%, shrank by 0.9% instead.
Official estimates for growth in the first quarter of the year will be released just before the general election in May.
With over 30 years of experience in UK manufacturing, Chris Sumner, managing director of FANUC UK – one of the nation’s largest robotics and automation providers – commented: “Today’s positive Index of Production statistics will come as further good news for the Government as we enter the election period.
“Domestic orders are on the increase in the machine tool and auto component sectors as the pound’s retains its relative strength against the Euro. As we move into spring the anticipation of the change in government will no doubt create an atmosphere of uncertainty amongst businesses, which could affect production levels in the coming months.”