Economic growth is expected to have doubled during the second quarter of 2013, rising from Q1’s feeble 0.3% to a healthier 0.6%.

Indicators of the anticipated increase in output include the CBI’s quarterly Industrial Trends Survey, which revealed the first hike in new orders for the manufacturing sector in 12 months. A consequence of this welcome development was an increase in output and hiring, with manufacturing bosses anticipating further increases in orders and output over the next quarter.

The CBI report notes, however: “When asked about factors likely to limit investment, manufacturers most often cited uncertainty about demand, which was of slightly greater concern than usual.”

Manufacturing output remains an important barometer for the health of the economy as a whole. The UK economist at the consultancy group Capital Economics, Samuel Tombs, said that growth in the sector was returning, but at a slower pace than recovery in the services sector.

He added: “This improvement brings the CBI’s survey in line with the relatively upbeat tone of the other surveys but with demand for exports weak in the UK’s largest market – the eurozone – and domestic consumers’ real pay still being squeezed, it is hard to see how the manufacturing sector’s recovery can gather much more pace in the near term.”

With hirer optimism returning but still fragile, an implication for freelancers contracting as Umbrella Company Employees is that demand for their input is likely to remain steady as businesses seek to manage fluctuations in demand without risking the long-term costs of expanding their permanent workforces. This is confirmed by the latest REC JobsOutlook, which shows demand for temporary/contracting staff remain strong.

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