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UK Manufacturing Industry Maintains Robust Pace: Markit

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UK Manufacturing Industry Maintains Robust Pace: Markit

The UK manufacturing sector kicked off 2014 in fine fashion, as output growth and new orders continued to support job creation.

Markit Group’s gauge of UK manufacturing activity eased slightly in January with an overall reading of 56.7. A median estimate of economists polled by Thomson Reuters called for 57. Although the PMI reading eased to its lowest level in three months, it remains well above the series average of 51.3.

Strong domestic demand and rising export orders continued to support the UK’s manufacturing rebound in January, Markit data showed. Stronger inflows of new orders from North America, Europe, Asia, Brazil and the MIddle East kept factories busy at the start of the year.

The strong upturn continued to support job growth, with UK manufacturers adding payrolls for the ninth consecutive month. Job creation was broad-based, as SMEs and large companies across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods sectors reported gains. Employment growth remained close to November’s two-and-a-half year high, adding further to the prospect of joblessness falling below 7 percent. UK joblessness fell to 7.1 percent in the three months to November, the Office for National Statistics reported last month.

“UK manufacturing made a strong start to the new year, continuing the robust upsurge in production seen at the tail end of 2013,” wrote Markit economist Rob Dobson in an official statement. “Although the pace of output expansion has cooled slightly in recent months, growth is still tracking at one of the highest rates in the 22-year survey history.”

A strong start to the year bodes well for UK recovery in the first quarter. As the UK economy continues to stabilize, it will be among a small handful of advanced industrialized nations to lead global recovery in 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund. UK gross domestic product is forecast to expand 2.4 percent this year, according to the IMF.

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