Budget 2012: Tracking the UK economy

Both the manufacturing and service sectors of the UK economy have felt the impact of the economic downturn.

One closely watched survey that tracks the progress of both sectors is the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index.

Each month, the survey provides a snapshot of the UK economy, with separate figures for manufacturing and services.

Any figure above 50 indicates growth, while a lower number indicates contraction.

As the graph indicates, both started to decline in late 2007, reaching their low point in January 2009. Manufacturing in particular had a tough 2011, but both sectors are now in positive territory.