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EAMA - Engineering & Machinery Alliance Press release

Thursday 22 December 2011

 

UK business orders holding up better than exports
Mechanical Engineering Business Monitor for November 2011

 

After a period of relatively weak but not unexpected results over the summer and early autumn, mechanical engineering firms say that orders from UK businesses are holding up better than orders from abroad as many overseas firms face up to the uncertainties surrounding the euro.

Martin Walder, EAMA chairman: "According to EAMA’s monthly Business Monitor UK order intake has improved month on month with 45% of firms saying their order levels are up.

"Things aren’t so positive on the export side, which isn’t surprising given the uncertainties aired daily in the media, but it is a cause for concern given that in the UK we have to raise our export performance very substantially to realign our balance of trade and particularly encourage SMEs either to export more, or if they don’t do it already then persuade them to export for the first time."

This month the EAMA Monitor also compares orders with November 2010. Overall:

  • 55% say business is up, 14% at the same level as a year ago and 31% down.
  • The average across all respondents is a company increase of some 10 to 15%.
  • This masks big variations according to subsector from +23% to -5% and of course even more extreme variances on a company basis (from +300% to -68%)

This month there is a significant increase in the number of firms saying they are going to need fewer people, as a result the balance between companies needing more people and those needing fewer shrank to +4%, indicating that there are only a few more companies recruiting than letting people go in the sector at the moment.

Martin Walder again: "One of the stats that has featured quite strongly in the Monitor over the last 18 months has been the double digit positive balance on jobs. Of course this is a lagging indicator. It could easily come back again. In the meantime, it is vital that anyone who comes onto the employment market with engineering sector skills is made aware of the relevant recruitment support available through the Talent Retention Solution database. For employees and SMEs it’s free of charge. There’s a modest annual fee for large companies to recruit from it.

"Another potentially important indicator in the Monitor is the fact that this month so few firms say they have had difficulty with access to finance. There are even quite a few saying that things are getting better. We don’t know whether the absence of comment is simply because companies, wearied of trying, have given up or whether we really are beginning to turn a corner. With well over a quarter of firms indicating they are developing investment plans, ease of access to finance will remain a determining priority for ambitious companies. And this month’s figures are the most positive we’ve had on finance since April this year. That could be a good omen for 2012."

(Monitor data below)

Notes to editors:

  1. EAMA’s 12 trade associations represent 1,700 firms: Agricultural Engineers Association, -- British Automation and Robot Association -- British Paper Machinery Suppliers Association -- British Plastics Federation -- British Turned Part Manufacturers Association -- Confederation of British Metalforming -- Gauge and Toolmakers Association -- Manufacturing Technologies Association -- Polymer Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association -- Printing Industry Confederation -- Processing and Packaging Machinery Association -- UK Industrial Vision Association.
  2. The Talent Retention Solution (TRS) is an industry led project that has been set up at the request of the Secretary of State for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) to facilitate the redeployment and retention of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) skills throughout the UK.

The Monitor

1 Prospects/Inquiries

Month

UP

SAME

DOWN

UP/DOWN Difference

 

UK

Export

UK

Export

UK

Export

UK

Export

January 2009

15

13

24

47

61

40

-46

-27

February

22

23

38

54

40

23

-- 18

0

March

28

22

33

50

39

28

-- 11

-- 6

April

31

28

26

28

43

44

-- 12

-- 16

May

24

12

47

50

29

38

-- 1

-- 26

June

33

19

44

54

23

27

+10

-8

July

33

14

48

55

19

31

+14

-- 17

August

28

13

36

51

36

36

-- 8

-- 23

September

46

33

38

55

16

12

+30

+21

October

41

37

42

42

17

21

+24

+16

November

52

33

37

50

11

17

+41

+16

January 2010

58

42

33

49

9

9

+49

+33

February

50

52

41

37

9

11

+41

+41

March

58

38

38

55

4

7

+54

+31

April

44

36

46

52

10

12

+34

+24

May

43

26

44

66

13

8

+30

+18

June

49

33

37

55

14

12

+35

+21

July

36

30

47

57

17

13

+15

+13

August

31

31

42

53

27

16

+4

+15

September

43

41

40

40

17

19

+26

+22

October

40

31

47

60

13

9

+27

+22

November

44

41

46

52

10

7

+34

+34

January 2011

49

43

38

50

13

7

+36

+36

February

50

42

39

49

11

9

+39

+33

March

38

40

47

48

15

12

+23

+28

April

44

35

43

52

13

13

+31

+22

May

31

36

56

46

14

18

+17

+18

June

43

34

41

56

15

10

+28

+24

July

34

28

43

51

23

21

+11

+7

August

22

20

37

36

41

44

-19

-24

September

31

19

43

54

26

27

+5

-8

October

34

21

49

59

17

20

+17

+1

November

29

22

55

64

16

14

+13

+8

2 Order intake

Month

UP

SAME

DOWN

UP/DOWN Difference

 

UK

Export

UK

Export

UK

Export

UK

Export

January 2009

18

20

20

32

62

48

-44

-28

February

18

21

31

29

51

50

-- 33

-- 29

March

11

18

28

42

61

40

-- 50

-- 22

April

21

30

23

33

56

37

-- 37

-- 7

May

20

5

35

46

45

49

-- 25

-- 44

June

39

19

28

49

33

32

+6

-13

July

37

22

26

42

37

36

0

-- 14

August

33

22

23

41

44

37

-- 11

-- 15

September

51

34

26

43

23

23

+28

+11

October

40

23

43

56

17

21

+23

+2

November

34

22

39

44

27

34

+7

-12

January 2010

47

47

30

39

23

14

+24

+33

February

45

42

35

44

20

14

+25

+28

March

54

41

29

41

17

18

+37

+23

April

49

31

30

49

21

20

+28

+11

May

39

23

32

55

29

22

+10

+1

June

46

29

33

48

21

23

+25

+6

July

34

40

39

40

27

20

+7

+20

August

22

25

44

48

34

27

-12

-2

September

38

35

38

39

24

26

+14

+9

October

38

28

34

54

28

18

+10

+10

November

43

34

31

46

26

20

+17

+14

January 2011

57

45

22

42

21

13

+36

+32

February

46

47

29

32

25

21

+21

+26

March

41

38

43

43

16

19

+25

+19

April

39

36

35

45

26

19

+13

+17

May

40

35

46

46

14

19

+26

+16

June

38

39

38

46

23

16

+16

+22

July

45

29

26

44

29

27

+16

+2

August

26

24

29

32

45

44

-19

-20

September

49

31

24

40

27

29

+22

+2

October

36

29

32

43

32

28

+4

+1

November

45

30

23

36

32

34

+13

-4

3 Jobs in the UK

Month

UP

SAME

DOWN

UP – DOWN

January 2009

9

59

32

-23

February

0

67

33

-33

March

0

74

26

-26

April

2

65

33

-31

May

8

66

26

-18

June

8

71

21

-13

July

12

61

27

-15

August

8

70

22

-14

September

11

75

14

-3

October

19

56

25

-6

November

9

80

11

-2

January 2010

15

75

10

+5

February

18

65

17

+1

March

18

75

7

+11

April

19

73

8

+11

May

20

73

6

+14

June

20

72

8

+12

July

25

67

8

+17

August

28

65

7

+21

September

21

68

11

+10

October

21

71

8

+13

November

21

69

10

+11

January 2011

27

64

8

+19

February

32

64

4

+28

March

31

61

8

+23

April

50

48

2

+48

May

28

69

3

+25

June

37

60

3

+34

July

28

66

6

+22

August

29

57

14

+15

September

32

58

10

+22

October

24

68

8

+16

November

24

56

20

+4

4 Investment Activity

 

Month

Investment stopped

Plans deferred

Developing projects

Investing in all areas

Investing in staff

Other

January 2009

10

28

40

6

8

8

February

27

31

17

4

17

4

March

31

22

25

10

6

6

April

28

28

32

5

2

5

May

22

28

35

6

4

6

June

25

34

22

9

9

1

July

22

30

35

6

4

3

August

30

19

26

11

5

9

September

12

22

30

20

12

4

October

25

17

29

8

17

4

November

10

27

30

3

25

5

January 2010

11

13

32

17

22

5

February

13

19

26

13

19

10

March

3

18

32

13

22

12

April

9

14

31

7

25

14

May

12

12

31

17

14

14

June

11

6

35

22

20

6

July

2

14

21

51

4

8

August

8

6

36

34

10

6

September

7

9

39

26

15

4

October

9

2

37

27

17

8

November

4

11

31

34

13

7

January 2011

8

6

29

43

12

2

February

2

5

41

32

9

11

March

7

8

26

33

15

11

April

2

8

26

46

12

6

May

6

8

23

36

19

8

June

7

9

26

48

6

4

July

4

11

26

39

16

4

August

2

12

25

40

19

2

September

5

12

27

36

14

6

October

10

8

31

29

12

10

November

5

14

29

36

2

14

 Notes:

  • choice of statements in full:
    1. All investment activity stopped
    2. Investment plans deferred
    3. Developing projects but not committing to them
    4. Investing in all areas of the business
    5. Investing in staff development and training but not capital investment
    6. Other

5 Capital Availability 2009-2011

Month

More Difficult

About the same

Easier

Difficult / easier Balance

 

Working

Investment

Working

Investment

Working

Investment

Working

Investment

January 2009

48

58

52

42

0

0

-48

-58

February

39

40

61

60

0

0

-39

-40

March

37

41

61

59

2

0

-35

-41

April

41

36

59

64

0

0

-41

-36

May

22

24

76

76

2

0

-20

-24

June

25

33

75

66

0

1

-25

-32

July

22

23

78

77

0

0

-22

-23

August

33

30

63

68

4

2

-29

-28

September

14

21

79

76

7

3

-7

-18

October

25

21

69

75

6

4

-19

-17

November

18

25

80

73

2

2

-16

-23

January 2010

14

23

80

74

6

3

-8

-20

February

9

8

88

89

3

3

-6

-5

March

12

10

82

90

6

0

-6

-10

April

9

10

83

88

8

2

-1

-8

May

18

16

73

73

9

11

-9

-6

June

15

17

81

74

4

9

-11

-8

July

8

12

76

72

16

16

+8

+4

August

11

11

87

89

2

0

-9

-11

September

11

13

84

84

5

3

-6

-10

October

17

13

75

84

8

3

-9

-10

November

17

16

76

80

7

4

-10

-12

January 2011

18

18

74

70

8

12

-10

-8

February

9

12

78

76

13

12

+4

0

March

8

6

84

82

8

12

0

+6

April

9

6

79

80

12

14

+3

+8

May

16

14

81

84

3

2

-13

-12

June

11

14

81

83

8

3

-3

-11

July

6

12

86

83

8

5

+2

-5

August

9

9

87

87

4

4

-5

-5

September

7

14

80

79

13

7

+6

-7

October

10

12

80

83

10

5

0

-7

November

2

5

88

88

10

7

+8

+2