Commenting on today’s PMI data, Seamus Nevin, chief economist at Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“At the end of this month, the UK is set to leave the EU and as the uncertainty grows, levels of output, new orders, new export business, investment and employment are continuing to fall. Were it not for the emergency stockpiling activities that took place ahead of our original EU exit date last March, the UK manufacturing sector would already be in recession. Stocks of purchases and input buying volumes have now started to rise again, as companies recommence their costly no deal Brexit contingency activities.
“Job losses are widespread across the sector as its continued weakness has seen employment fall at the most severe rate since the peak of the Global Financial Crisis. There are now roughly 126,000 fewer people working in the industry than there were in June 2016.
“UK manufacturers are also losing customers and production continued to contract in September, as companies cut back output in response to further reductions in new orders received.
“While global markets are also faltering, with orders from the USA and Asia are shrinking, and growth in the Eurozone - the UK’s biggest export market - declining slightly following last month’s improvement, anxiety about the UK’s post-Brexit trade rules is clearly the biggest factor affecting British manufacturers right now.”