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2011 looks encouraging for most industry sectors

Contractor accountants with clients operating in or relying on a number of UK sectors will be pleased to hear of some positive growth [1].

For example, new research from the EEF shows that the UK’s manufacturing sector reported strong output and good order balances in quarter three.

Manufacturers have already started hiring new staff and making new investments which will undoubtedly come as welcome news for contractors. Ms Lee Hopley, the chief economist at EEF, said that the manufacturing industry was ending 2010 on a high and this will provide the sector with a strong footing to begin the New Year. EEF also predicts that manufacturing and engineering will outperform other contributors to the UK economy [2] in 2011.

It’s not only the UK that has witnessed this welcome boost in manufacturing either. Markit Economics recently reported that last month, the manufacturing sector across Europe increased at its fastest rate for 4 months.

But manufacturing isn’t the only sector planning to expand next year. Research by PwC shows that 28% of firms in the UK intend to increase recruitment [3] in 2011. In addition to manufacturing, the technology and services industries should see vigorous recruitment, the study showed.

The recent Growth Review from the government also contained encouraging news for a lot of UK contractors [4].

David Frost, from the British Chamber of Commerce, said that enterprises will be reassured now that the focus is to return to balanced, sustainable growth. The review talks about creating a framework for growth and also acknowledges the vital contribution made by SMEs. However, it remains to be seen whether the coalition [5] can bring down the barriers that have been preventing firms from thriving.

One piece of not so positive news regarding the service sector has come from the CBI [6]. Although professional and business services have remained steady over the past few months, consumer services have tumbled. The CBI cited reduced consumer discretionary spending as a contributory factor along with rising costs and falling prices.

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Image: Growing [7] by Simon Peckham

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