03 August 2009 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the UK manufacturing industry increased for the first time since March 2008, according to the latest CIPS/Markit UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index.
Total activity in the sector registered 50.8 last month (a figure above 50 indicates growth). It was the highest level in 16 months and an improvement on the 47.4 recorded in June.
Production levels increased for the second consecutive month, from 51.7 in June to 55 in July, on the back of a significant lift in new orders and the restarting of production lines.
Staff numbers continued to decline, however, albeit at a slower rate than in June. Average input prices continued to fall.
CIPS chief executive David Noble said the manufacturing industry had pulled out of its "nosedive" from earlier this year, but added it was "far from healthy".
"We may have to accept the face of British manufacturing has changed forever and the sector will stabilise at a much-reduced size than before the recession."
Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/EDIT/PMI/pmi.asp