So far in 2012, the UK manufacturing sector has rebounded and prospects for the rest of the year are quite positive. After a bleak end to the previous year, orders are up both at home and abroad. According to the CBI, the manufacturing sector is at its highest point within the past half year and according to the order books of 471 manufacturers that were surveyed, order books show the upward trend is continuing.
Furthermore, this increase in manufacturing is seen as a possible ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak economy. Many economists believe that this sector may be able to protect the UK from a double dip recession which has been a very real fear throughout the past year. These same analysts believe that there will be at least ‘modest growth’ within the first quarter of 2012 which would technically avoid the feared recession as there will have been two consecutive quarters of growth.
A technical recession is defined as those same two consecutive quarters having been in contraction. Since the final quarter of 2011 was down by .02% overall in the economy and the first quarter of 2012 is forecast to be up due to a rise in manufacturing, there will be no well defined recession as yet. The final quarter of 2011 saw a contraction of .9% for the manufacturing sector but this first quarter of the new year is raising hopes of revival.
Even though manufacturing is only a portion of the market, it is still hoped that this sector will provide enough growth to prevent the UK from slipping back into a recession. Additionally, economists warn against being overly optimistic as the Office for National Statistics is due to release their forecast today, which may still show an overall downturn by a very small amount. Government stresses that the UK is still not out of trouble and that there are still obstacles to overcome, including the debt crisis in the eurozone.