Growth in vehicles, aerospace and drugs forecast for 2016

The EEF said vehicle production would help drive growth in 2016. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

The EEF said vehicle production would help drive growth in 2016. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

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Motor vehicles, aerospace and the rejuvenation of pharmaceuticals provide reasons for optimism next year, according to a manufacturing trade group.

The EEF forecasts that those sectors will drive growth in 2016 and buck the wider manufacturing trend of reduced employment, with an increase in jobs.

In contrast, the collapse in oil and gas activity, weakness in key export markets and strong sterling are providing “considerable challenges” for other sectors.

READ MORE: Scots economy contracts amid oil and gas slowdown

Factors that have dragged on manufacturing activity in 2015, including disappointing construction activity, should be a less prominent issue for exposed manufacturing sectors in the next 12 months, the manufacturers’ group predicted.

EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said: “Manufacturing is a hugely diverse part of the UK economy. Looking at the sector as a whole, growth has disappointed in 2015 and we’ve seen overall confidence levels tail off through the year.

“But to get a true sense of where the sector stands going into 2016 we have to look at the variation in performance across different industry segments, with some sectors enjoying a positive momentum, while others have been hit hard by global factors largely outside of both their and UK Government control.

“Looking forward, this divergence in performance shows no signs of abating, though most manufacturing sectors should see positive growth next year, albeit at varying levels.”

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