Scottish manufacturing in bullish mood

SCOTLAND'S manufacturers today sounded a note of optimism for the year ahead, after figures showed robust prices, output and staffing levels.

Scottish Engineering, the support group for the industry, said output volumes had been sustained and staffing levels continued to be buoyant in the last quarter, although orders had slipped slightly. Peter Hughes, chief executive of Scottish Engineering, said: "In a number of meetings I've held throughout Scotland recently there is a significant level of optimism, with relatively few companies having a negative outlook for 2011 and beyond.

"Following the record high results we reported in our September review, it's heartening to see that the overall message from the manufacturing engineering sector remains extremely positive."

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In the latest review, 43 per cent of companies said order intake was up, with 29 per cent reporting no change and 28 per cent reporting a decline. Orders were now back at a level last achieved three years ago, the survey found.

Output volumes overall were maintained, thanks to a record levels of orders gained in the previous quarter. Some 48 per cent of firms reported an increase, with 29 per cent saying output had stayed the same and 23 per cent experiencing a fall.

Around 29 per cent of firms said they had taken on staff, with just 11 per cent laying people off. The picture was brightest among medium-sized companies, where 49 per cent of companies recruited.