Factory slowdown 'will hit jobs'

27-10-2005

Thousands of UK manufacturing jobs are at risk as companies seek to cut costs, according to the CBI. The business group's downbeat forecast came as its latest survey of the manufacturing sector found orders and output falling faster than expected.

In all, 34% of firms reported a drop in orders in the three months to October and 20% said they rose - a balance of minus 14 compared with minus 7 in July.

The CBI added that, despite hopes of a slight increase, output also fell.

Price squeeze

"Rising raw material and energy prices have continued to push up costs and hit profits," CBI deputy director general John Cridland said.

"Against this background firms are cutting back on their investment plans and expect the rate of job losses to increase."

Domestic demand led the slide, the CBI added, with 35% per cent of firms posting a drop in orders during the quarter with only 12% reporting an increase.

Meanwhile 30% posted a fall in export orders.

On a monthly basis the pace of the slowdown in October appeared to ease, as the CBI's monthly manufacturing order books balance rose to minus 25 from minus 27 in September.

BBC News

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