Scottish engineering sector sees strong quarter

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ORDERS and output levels in the Scottish engineering sector have moved back into positive territory amid increasing optimism.

The latest quarterly review from industry body Scottish Engineering also found recruitment levels continue to be strong.

Chief executive Bryan Buchan said that, as well as the positive data from the survey, the organisation was seeing a “general mood of optimism and a buoyancy of spirit that tends to support the figures”.

The report found order levels across all disciplines for the second quarter of the year were generally positive with 32 per cent reporting a rise against 29 per cent seeing a fall.

Transport, metal manufacturing and machine shops were among the strongest sectors but all apart from electronics saw output volumes improve. Although export orders showed a negative balance with 20 per cent reporting a rise compared to 31 per cent seeing a fall, the forecast for the third quarter was for that to be reversed.

The survey found that recruitment levels across all sizes of company remain robust, with forecasts for the next three months showing 30 per cent of firms expect staffing levels to increase.

However, rising demand is leading to shortages in certain skills areas such as welding while companies are having difficulties recruiting graduate engineers in a number of disciplines.

Both training and capital investment plans have picked up from a slight dip last quarter. Small and medium sized companies were most positive about their prospects.