UK Manufacturing Output , April 2024:  The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that UK manufacturing output fell by -1.4%  but over the 3-months ending in that month, it was +1.0% higher than in the previous period.  The reduction in the monthly trend was mainly due to a sharp fall in the output of the pharmaceutical industry although, even at -6.3%, this was not quite a complete reversal of the spike (+7.6%) that was recorded in March.  With 9 of the 13 industry groups seeing output fall in April, the most positive trend was for the machinery industry which has grown in 4 of the past 5 months.

In the rest of this note, we will focus on the rolling 3-month trend;  the “latest” 3 months are February to April 2024, the “previous period” is November and December 2023 and January 2024 and the same period a year earlier is February to April 2023.

For the capital goods industries, output was +2.1% higher than in the previous period and +6.3% higher than a year earlier;  for this group, output was 99.2% of its pre-pandemic level (this is taken to be February 2020 for the monthly series).

At the industry level, the only one of our key industries to see output fall in this analysis was machinery; despite the growth recently, output in the latest 3 months was -0.7% lower than the previous period and -10.6% down on a year earlier;  April output was 83.1% of the pre-pandemic level.

At the opposite end of the performance spectrum, output of the automotive industry was +4.6% up on the previous period and +24.8% higher than a year ago;  at 117.0%, this was the only one of our key user industries where output was higher than before the pandemic.

The aerospace industry has also been doing well, although not on the scale of automotive;  growth here was +1.3% compared to the previous 3-month period and +4.1% higher than a year ago.  However, there is still a long way to go in the recovery process with the April output figure at only 76.8% of the pre-pandemic level.

Finally, the metal products industry saw production increase by +2.8% compared to the previous 3 months and by +10.3% over a year earlier;  the April figure was 90.5% of the pre-pandemic level for this industry.

You can download the ONS Statistical Bulletin from their web-site at (12 June) or request it from MTA;  we also have an analysis of the key industries which is available to members – please contact Geoff Noon ([email protected]) if you would like these charts.


UK GDP, April 2024:  The sector output data brings with it the estimate of monthly GDP which showed no change from the March level.  In the 3 months to April, the UK economy grew by +0.7% compared to the equivalent period up to January.

In the previous item we noted the fall in manufacturing output in April and the construction sector also saw output decline in April (-1.4%) but this sector also saw a reduction for the latest 3-month period (-2.2%).  Looking at the 3-month trend, there was a reduction in both new work (-2.8%) and repair & maintenance activity (-1.4%).  The April figures for this sector were particularly affected by heavy rain and strong winds.

These two sectors balanced growth of +0.2% in April for the service sector, giving the “no change” figure overall.  Over the last 3 months, the service sector grew by +0.9% with 11 of the 14 sub-sectors expanding in this period.  the largest contribution came from “professional, scientific & technical activities”, with “transportation & storage” and “administrative & support services” also making significant contributions to growth.

However, consumer-facing services only saw growth of +0.2% in the 3 months to April (and fell by -0.7% in April itself).  This was largely due to a sharp fall in retail sales, which was probably affected by the timing of Easter as it more or less balanced a similarly sized increase in March, and a reduction in food & beverage service activities. There are more details in the range of ONS Statistical Bulletins which can be downloaded from their website at (12 June) or on request from MTA.

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