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Manufacturing boost to city region economy, but services still struggling

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Manufacturers in Sheffield City Region have reported an upturn in confidence for the second quarter of 2013.

However, the services sector continues to struggle and remains at similar levels to the same period a year ago.

The figures for the Sheffield City Region have been revealed as part of the latest British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), which looked at business confidence between April and June 2013.

Manufacturing saw a significant increase in UK sales and orders compared with the previous quarter. Export sales remain static, but orders have increased.

Meanwhile, there has been a slight reduction in investment in machinery, but a small rise in investment on training, while profitability and turnover have reached better levels.

However, services did show UK sales and orders remained the same, while export sales and orders were reduced. There was a reduction in investment in machinery, but an increase in training for the sector.

Cash flow has improved for both the manufacturing and services sector, and the figures did indicate an increase in employment and expectation of jobs over the next three months.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber, said:

“It is pleasing to see confidence grow in the manufacturing sector. Sales and orders for the UK market are now at levels which are higher than the national average, which is good news for the Sheffield City Region and demonstrate this area’s national expertise.

“Whilst the service sector has not deteriorated it continues to struggle to get off the ground.

“The improvement in cash flow for both sectors should offer a needed confidence boost to businesses to now establish the foundations for long-term planning.

“Supported with healthy levels of profitability and turnover, now is the time to invest in products, new markets, machinery and staff to strengthen growth. We need to be ready to exploit the upturn!

“The proposed infrastructure projects announced following the Spending Review can help, but the plans need to move off the drawing board and be delivered now, not in two years time.

“This survey, which is carried out every quarter, is an important barometer of the region.

“I would urge all businesses to take time to feed back into it because it is important we get a true view. We have combined results across the Sheffield City Region to measure the relevant geographical area.”

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