Smaller manufacturers see orders and output fall at fastest rate for a year

Small and medium-size manufacturers have seen orders and output fall at the fastest rate fora year, according to a CBI survey published today.

The figures for the last four months show that smaller manufacturers are finding it particularly tough to break free from the manufacturing recession.

22% of firms said total new orders were up over the last four months, 40% said they were down. The balance of minus 18% compares with minus 16% in July and falls well short of the predicted plus 1%.

22% of companies said output was up over the last four months, 37% said output was down. The balance of minus 15% compares with minus 11% in July and contrasts sharply with the expected figure of plus 3%.

Small firms were more negative about orders and output than medium-sized firms for tenth consecutive survey. As a result of orders and output falling unexpectedly, firms have become less confident about the general business situation and about export prospects. Optimism has deteriorated more amongst small firms than amongst medium-sized businesses.