Manufacturing growth slows in November

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UK manufacturing growth slowed last month from the rapid pace seen in October, according to the latest Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

The index fell to 52.7 in November from a 16-month high of 55.2 in October. Any reading above 50 indicates growth.

Last month’s reading was still above average for this year, and paints a better picture for manufacturing than recent official data.

Markit said November’s data was positive, but that weaknesses remain.

“Although the pace of growth so far is only very modest, it positions manufacturing as less of a drag on the broader economy,” Markit economist Rob Dobson said in a statement.

He said: “While the improvement in recent months is a welcome trend, scratching beneath the surface of the manufacturing numbers stills exposes a number of weaknesses. Growth remains heavily focussed on the domestic consumer, while the strong gains at large-scale producers have yet to filter through to SMEs. A broadening of the expansion is necessary if the nascent recovery is to be sustained

Services have been the main driver of economic expansion, and Markit said this would need to be the case again, if the economy were to grow at the 0.6% quarterly rate which the government has forecast for the final three months of 2015.

The PMI survey showed that consumer goods manufacturers were doing best, with the strongest growth in export orders coming from the US, Germany, and Middle East.

November saw little change in manufacturing job creation, after a big gain in October, the survey found.

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