Engineering sector reports rise in output

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THE engineering sector has weathered the economic downturn in the wider Scottish economy, with the latest report showing the industry continued to increase output during the third quarter.

According to the latest report from Scottish Engineering, the support group for the industry, orders and output have both improved, while staffing levels are being maintained.

The organisation’s quarterly review reports that the industry in general is buoyant, though fabricators and metal manufacturers are finding trading tough.

Peter Hughes, the group’s chief executive, said: “I am pleased to see that orders for both small and medium-sized companies have both returned to positive territory, while large companies are reporting a balanced return.”

He added that optimism levels across the sector had improved. On balance, more companies are planning to increase staffing levels than cut jobs in the next three months.

Plans for capital investment also remain positive, with only fabricators reporting a dip in their plans. As in the last 12 quarters, training plans continue to be positive, particularly in small companies.

The industry is suffering from a shortage of machinists and welders, and Hughes said it was crucial that the UK government recognises the importance of a strong college sector and ensures that training providers have the financial support they require.