02 March 2009 | Jake Kanter
Activity in UK manufacturing remained weak in February and fell at a faster rate than January.
In the latest CIPS/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index, the sector recorded 34.7 in February, compared with 35.8 posted a month earlier. A figure below 50 demonstrates contraction.
Output reached a record low of 31.4 last month, down from 35.4 registered in January. The rate of contraction for new orders slowed but remained close to the record lows posted at the end of 2008. New export orders declined sharply, with reduced demand from East Asia, the US and the Middle East.
Employment activity registered another survey low, contracting for the eleventh consecutive month. Economic conditions - described as "severe" - and efforts to reduce costs were to blame for the job losses.
Supplier delivery times improved for the fifth month in a row, as falling demand for raw materials eased the pressure on vendor capacity.
A separate study released today by manufacturing body the EEF found factory output and new orders hit record lows in the first two months of 2009. The survey also forecast the loss of 140,000 manufacturing jobs this year.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi