Manufacturers leading the way out of recession

MANUFACTURING firms in Suffolk are performing above national trends as the county’s economy shows its resilience.

Dr Peter Funnell, president of the county’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “The last 12 months have been challenging for local business.

“It is encouraging that we are now seeing a hesitant but welcome return to growth and there is an indication of more robust development and greater confidence amongst local firms.”

A Suffolk County Council research team analysed the Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly economic survey and reported that manufacturing firms were leading the way in improving on the economic growth seen in the fourth quarter of last year.

The county’s manufacturing firms recorded increases in both deliveries and orders.

Dr Funnell said: “These results demonstrate the resilience of the county’s business community.”

Giles de Lotbiniere, owner of concrete masonry products firm Lignacite, which has factorys in Essex and Brandon, said: “London has definitely picked up and is busier and you get that radiating out, so our Essex factory is pretty busy.

“Our Suffolk factory is beginning to feel the warm glow but it has not really reached out.

“We can see better orders, bigger jobs and more happening in the second half of the year.”

The county’s manufacturers also reported increased employment levels in the first quarter of the year, which the Chamber of Commerce said indicated positive expectations for the next quarter.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “There are genuine grounds for optimism in these results.

“It’s good news that our manufacturers have got the bit between their teeth and all businesses can be encouraged at the positive signals we are seeing.

The recovery in Suffolk appears to be stronger than the national trend, which is a shot in the arm for all of us.”