Suffolk: Manufacturing is leading the county’s recovery, says chamber survey

SUFFOLK’s manufacturing firms are leading the way as the county’s economy continues to show signs of growth, according to a new survey.

The first quarterly economic survey of 2012 conducted by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce shows manufacturers building further on their good performance at the end of last year while activity in the services sector is also picking up.

Analysis of the results by the research team at Suffolk County Council indicates that the improvement in the county’s manufacturing sector is running ahead of the national trend in both the domestic and export markets, with both deliveries and orders up on the previous quarter.

Manufacturers also reported increased employment levels during the first quarter and indicated positive expectations for the second quarter.

In addition companies are reporting improved investment levels in plant and machinery for the second quarter running and spending on training has also increased in the past three months.

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The survey also shows tha,t while the service sector had a difficult second half of 2011, there has been a robust improvement in performance in the domestic market since the New Year, both in terms of sales and orders, very much in line with the national trend.

Not surprisingly, business confidence in improving turnover and profitability continues to rebound from its low in the third quarter of 2011.

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“The last twelve months have been challenging for local businesses.” said Suffolk Chamber president Peter Funnell. “It is encouraging that we are now seeing a hesitant but welcome return to economic growth and there is an indication of more robust development and greater confidence amongst local firms.

“We have talked a lot in recent months about a fragile economy and slow growth, but these results demonstrate the resilience of the county’s business community,” Dr Funnell added.

John Dugmore, chief executive at Suffolk Chamber, said: “There are genuine grounds for optimism in these results.

“It is good news that our manufacturers have got the bit between their teeth and all business can be encouraged at the positive signals we are seeing.

“The recovery in Suffolk appears to be stronger than the national trend which is a shot in the arm for us all,” he added.

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