UK manufacturing on track in May as hiring rises

LONDON: British manufacturing chalked up its second-fastest growth in nearly three years last month, putting the sector on track to shrug off election and Brexit-related uncertainty and improve on a weak first-quarter performance, a survey showed.
The Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slipped to 56.7 in May from a three-year high in April.
Aside from the previous month’s PMI, that was its strongest reading since June 2014.
“On this basis, the sector should have sufficient momentum to see it through the uncertainty generated by the current unexpected general election and into the start of Brexit negotiations,” IHS Markit economist Rob Dobson said.
Britons vote in a week’s time in an early national election called by Prime Minister Theresa May to bolster her standing before nearly two years of talks to leave the European Union.
At the start of the campaign in April, May seemed on track to win an increased majority. But polls over the past week show the opposition Labour Party has eaten into her lead.
May has highlighted the record number of people in work in her campaign, and Thursday’s figures showed that manufacturers planned to hire staff at the fastest pace in nearly three years. Companies wanted extra staff to handle new orders and increase capacity, Markit said, as backlogs of work lengthened by the most in six years. — Reuters