Manufacturing output on the up through 2014

ONS has announced its latest Index of Production (IoP) figures, revealing that total production output increased by 0.1% between Q3 2014 and Q4 2014, with the largest contribution to the quarterly growth once again coming from manufacturing.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also show total production output increased by 1.4% between 2013 and 2014, and of the four main sectors, manufacturing output was the only one to rise, increasing by 2.7%.

Similar to those figures released in November 2014, ONS cited computer, electronic & optical products; the manufacture of transport equipment; and the manufacture of food products, beverages & tobacco as the main contributors to December 2014’s growth.

Shining a spotlight on manufacturing, ONS stated: Following two years of falling output, the manufacturing industry recovered strongly in 2014, growing by 2.7% on the previous calendar year.

Big data by Marius B
Nine sub-sectors accounted for manufacturing output growth in 2014.

“This was the strongest growth rate that the industry had experienced since 2010, when output rose by 4.7%…and manufacturing output rose at a faster rate in 2014 compared with any year in the decade prior to the 2008/09 economic downturn.”

Nine sub-sectors accounted for manufacturing output growth in 2014, with the largest growth coming from rubber, plastic & non-metallic mineral products; food products, beverages and tobacco; transport equipment; other manufacturing and repair; chemicals and chemical products; machinery and equipment; and basic metals and metal products.

The biggest decrease came from basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations.

Lee Hopley, chief economist, EEF.
Lee Hopley, chief economist, EEF.

Commenting on today’s IoP data, Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, said: “Manufacturing climbed back in the final months of last year with output hitting its highest level in almost six years.

“While it was a mixed picture across the diverse range of sectors that make up the sector, there was a particularly strong finish to the year for companies in the electronics, transport and food industries.

“Nevertheless output is still 5% below the pre-recession peak and while early indicators seem positive for this year, the need for continuing focus from government on boosting investment, innovation and exports remains vital for balanced growth and stronger productivity across the economy.”

Mike Rigby, head of manufacturing, Barclays.
Mike Rigby, head of manufacturing, Barclays.

Head of manufacturing at Barclays, Mike Rigby commented: “Although manufacturing continues to be the standard bearer for total production output, flat macroeconomic conditions, a squeezed Eurozone and geopolitical tensions have all contributed to a more uncertain outlook for the sector.

“With manufacturers now increasingly voicing concerns over access to skilled labour, the incentive to make vital investment could become further thwarted.”

Read more about UK manufacturers concerns in The Manufacturer’s Annual Manufacturing Report 2015 by clicking here

Chris Sumner, managing director, FANUC UK.
Chris Sumner, managing director, FANUC UK.

Chris Sumner, managing director of FANUC UK – a leading provider of robotic and automation solutions for the manufacturing industry, said: “Today’s figures show a positive end to 2014, and we’re seeing this reflected in our order book.

“UK manufacturers are continuing to invest in robot technology and automaton, particularly in the medical sector, as they seek to capitalise on the strong economic prospects compared to their European counterparts.”