Scotland business

Scottish engineers report another strong quarter

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Scotland's engineering and manufacturing sector has recorded a third strong quarter in a row, an industry survey has found.

Scottish Engineering's latest quarterly review suggested an improvement in orders and output on the previous two three-month periods.

It also found "particularly strong" growth in staffing levels.

The industry body said it showed engineering firms were "gritting their teeth" in tough economic conditions.

According to the survey of 320 companies, positive output figures were reported by electronics firms, fabricators, machine shops and mechanical equipment businesses.

UK orders in general were similar to the first quarter of this year, while export orders also remained positive.

Employee numbers generally showed a "marked improvement " across small, medium and large companies over the previous quarter.

In general terms, levels of optimism among small and medium sized firms remained positive, but there was a more negative outlook from large companies.

Scottish Engineering said some sections of the engineering industry were looking to improve on the last quarter's predictions.

Fabricators indicated high hopes for UK orders in the next quarter, although some saw exports declining compared with the last quarter.

'Positive signs'

Scottish Economy Secretary Keith Brown welcomed the figures and said: "The latest Scottish Engineering Quarterly Review figures show some positive signs for the engineering and manufacturing sector in Scotland with the report signalling expansions in output, orders and staffing levels in the second quarter of 2017.

"Furthermore, the survey's output volume indicator was at its highest in almost 7 years, suggesting that our engineering and manufacturing sector has picked up in the first half of the year.

"The figures come after the 2017 EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey confirmed 2016 was a record breaking year for foreign direct investment into Scotland. For the second year in a row we have attracted more projects than ever before and Scotland has been the top UK region outside London in every one of the past five years."

He added:"As these figures together show, our economy remains resilient and the Scottish government will continue to do all we can to support growth."

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