The latest UK manufacturing PMI data released today shows the sector’s slowest rate of growth in eight months.
The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell in March to 55.3, its lowest since July last year, from a revised 56.2 in February, originally forecast at 59.9.
The fall is the fourth month in a row that the index has lowered, although it remained comfortably above the growth mark of 50.
Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said the latest reading would make for disappointing reading for UK businesses, but should be viewed in the context of near record growth rates seen in during 2013.
“Growth is merely hot rather than scorching, and the take-home messages from the March survey are that the recovery remains solid and continues to drive strong job creation,” he said.
Hiring in the sector also fell slightly from February’s 33-month high, with Markit confirming the slower growth was mainly centred on companies manufacturing machinery and equipment.
Carl Williamson, manufacturing sector lead at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, mid-markets, added: “It is still early days following the Chancellor’s pro-manufacturing Budget, but the recent doubling of the capital investment allowance will no doubt reaffirm the confidence of producers across the country in the coming months.
“Encouraging factory bosses to invest in new machinery will see productivity and output make further gains over the coming months and further fuel the sector’s impressive contribution to job creation in the economy.”