Manufacturing Barometer British SME manufacturers expect strong post-Covid recovery

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

UK — Confidence amongst British SME manufacturers is at its highest level for two years according to the latest Manufacturing Barometer, carried out by SWMAS (the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP).

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Small to medium-sized manufacturers in the UK experienced a positive quarter’s trade between January and March.
Small to medium-sized manufacturers in the UK experienced a positive quarter’s trade between January and March.
(Source: Daniel Graves)

Nearly two thirds of small and medium sized manufacturing firms in the UK are expecting to increase sales between now and October, with 58 percent indicating that they are planning to boost investment over the next six months as they look to the future. Out of nearly 300 firms questioned, 54 percent highlighted an increased need to recruit staff over the coming months.

This quarter’s Barometer took an in-depth look at how manufacturing SMEs are recovering from the pandemic and, encouragingly, 48 percent of respondents now expect to return to, or exceed, their pre-Covid-19 position within three months. On the jobs front, although 80 percent of businesses have utilised the government’s furlough scheme at some point in the last year, only 37 percent are still using it today.

The report also reveals that new working practices are being implemented because of the pandemic. 42 percent of the business leaders questioned are now planning to offer their employees some level of remote working, up 28 percent from the number who were offering this before the pandemic began.

Nick Golding, Managing Director of SWMAS, commented: “There has been a lot of evidence recently about a stronger than expected recovery and the Manufacturing Barometer certainly reinforces this train of thought, with manufacturers showing increased confidence in future sales. Small to medium-sized manufacturers experienced a positive quarter’s trade between January and March, with 46 percent reporting an increase in sales, compared to 31 percent in the previous barometer.”

To download the full report, please visit

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