1 February 2010 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the UK manufacturing industry rose to a 15-year high last month.
According to the latest CIPS/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index – where a figure above 50 represents growth – total activity in the sector registered 56.7 in January, compared to the upwardly revised figure of 54.6 the month before.
It was the highest level since October 1994 and means activity has increased for four consecutive months.
Production activity rose to highest the point since June 2006, reaching 59.1 last month compared with 58.3 in December.
New orders also increased at the fastest rate in six years, underpinned by increased domestic demand and greater export activity. As a result, employment numbers expanded for the first time in 21 months.
CIPS chief executive David Noble said the figures were positive. “One of the most encouraging aspects of this month’s PMI is the turnaround on the jobs front. For the first time in 21 months there has been an increase in employment, albeit only a slight one. Employment is usually a lagging indicator so it suggests that firms are becoming much more confident about the future.”
Elsewhere, activity in the European manufacturing industry increased to the highest point in two years. The Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI showed that activity registered 52.4 last month, compared with the revised figure of 51.6 in December.
Further coverage of PMI reports is available here.