This morning Eurostat have put out a release on new manufacturing orders. In December, orders were up 0.8 per cent on November in the eurozone and 0.6 per cent across the wider EU27. By contrast, in Britain orders were down 0.8 per cent. New manufacturing orders are an important indicator for the health of the manufacturing sector.
Over the last year we have had a slow recovery in the manufacturing sector relative to other European economies:
Industrial new orders indices for total manufacturing working on orders, Eurozone (EA16) and United Kingdom (UK), December 2008=100, seasonally adjusted
At the Pre-Budget Report, Alistair Darling said that:
It's early days yet, but so far Britain has had a much weaker recovery from the recession in the manufacturing sector than other EU countries. That is most likely not due to particular problems in the sector but being driven by a combination of weaknesses in British manufacturer's home market - the UK's overall recovery has been weak - and other problems that are affecting the rest of UK PLC as well. As I discussed yesterday, it will probably take action on spending to restore confidence and get British business moving again.