Electronics firms avoid hammering

Electronics firms avoid hammering
Roy Rubenstein The relative strength of the electronics manufacturing sector has been emphasised in a new set of government statistics. Further evidence that manufacturing in the electronics sector is fairing better than the rest of the UK’s manufacturing industry is provided by the Office for National Statistics. Its Index of Production report claims that while the overall engineering manufacturing output fell by 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of 1998, the output from the electrical and optical equipment industries (underpinned by electronics) increased by 2.3 per cent. This agrees with the findings that electronic manufacturers are bucking the trend that has seen many small and medium sized enterprises suffer a fall in orders in the last four months. The gloomy findings based on a Confederation of British Industry survey does not appear to reflect the current experiences of electronic firms (see Electronics Weekly, May 13). The relative strength of the electronics sector is also confirmed by the Engineering Employer’s Federation. “While engineering per se is taking a hammering, the higher value segments of electronics and aerospace are buoyant,” said an EEF spokesman. The EEF is optimistic about the segments’ longer term prospects, expecting electronics and aerospace to grow at between 2.5 and 3 per cent over the next two years. Engineering in general is expected to grow by only 0.5 per cent, a marked drop on last year’s 3.5 per cent growth.


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