Rising optimism

Factories recovering with ‘greater speed and scale’

Paul Sheerin

Paul Sheerin: ‘welcome reality’ (pic: Terry Murden)

The speed and scale of the recovery among Scotland’s industrial companies is stronger than had been expected earlier this year.

Figures from trade group Scottish Engineering have turned a ‘tentative forecast’ into a ‘welcome reality,’ as metrics across the board move from negative to positive for the first time since the pandemic impacted operations.

“Whilst concern remains for those sectors whose recovery is still some way off, and raw material pricing and availability are a concern for all, the speed and magnitude of improvement is stronger than we could have reasonably hoped for in the first few months of 2021,” said the organisation in its latest update.   

Orders in the last three months are up 27%, with a future forecast for the coming quarter of a further 39% increase.

Planned output, staffing, training, and investment follow suit as expected to match an increasing order book.

Challenges remain for sectors where delayed demand holds back those recovery benefits, and all are experiencing operational and financial restrictions caused by raw material pricing and availability.

The recovery from the pandemic has also been framed in the necessity to build climate action focus into the framework and support for economic rehabilitation.

“Scotland’s Engineering sector was well placed in this regard, with over 90% responding one year ago that they recognised the climate emergency as real and requiring urgent action, even where the actions posed a threat to their business,” according to the update.

“One year on and despite all the difficulties of the last year an increasing number of engineering companies now see opportunity in the path to net-zero, with diversification to sustainable sectors as the basis of that optimism.” 

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