It says that taking furlough is voluntary, so those with caring commitments or who
Store staff also being offered personal plastic face shields which they say are better than masks as they can be easily cleaned and don’t need to be adjusted (which can lead to face touching.
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“The UK manufacturing sector has essentially come to a standstill. The shuttering of businesses and the complete dissolution of supply chains means that the sector that accounts for around 1/7th of the UK economy is effectively closed for business. While new orders, as well as delivery times, can reverse quickly as businesses rebuild inventories, the worst decline in employment since July 2009 shows that a recovery will not be quite as instantaneous.”
“There is optimism amongst businesses that output will be higher in a year’s time, which the nation will certainly be hoping is the case.”
Seamus Nevin, Chief Economist at Make UK
“Today may be April Fool’s Day but this result is no joke. A PMI score of 47.8 amidst the ongoing Covid19 outbreak is a sign of just how hard manufacturers have been hit.
“Many firms have had to shut and lots of those that remain open have seen orders or output suffer. Others have switched to making products that are vital to the national attempt to stop the spread of the virus; a testament to why backing manufacturing is so important.
“At the start of this year manufacturing
companiesreported unprecedented optimism about investment and trade butthat had all been swept away by current events. With estimates suggesting up to a fifth of smaller firms could go out of business in the next few months Coronavirus has highlighted the need to maintain and develop our domestic manufacturing base. The Chancellor has rightly intervened to help but even still costs are going up. A 6.2% increase in the national living wage came into effect this morning. With expectations of further restrictions and economic disruption to come Business optimism is that a record low and may continue to worsen in the months ahead”
Neil Birrell, Chief Investment Officer at Premier Miton.
“The economic data coming out of Europe this morning is not comforting, but that’s no surprise. Confidence about the future in Italy and Spain sank to levels not seen before, suggesting worse is to come.
The UK, France and Germany showed similar traits. Equity markets in Europe will be under pressure, compounded by the UK banking sector cancelling dividends.”
Frederik Ducrozet of Pictet Asset Management flags up that the headline PMI number is flattered by delivery problems:
My colleague Sarah Butler reports:
boardgamesand puzzles soared 240% during the lockdown as Brits turned to old favouritesincluding Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo while stuck at home according to data from market research firm NPD Group.
Monopoly Classic was the best selling toy with
card gameDobble at number three butLego’s complex construction kits of cars such as a Bugatti and a Land Rover Defender were also among the top-selling toys suggesting that adults were also looking for entertainment to while away the hours.
As parents struggled to entertain kids with something at least partly educational, sales of art and craft gear nearly doubled with slime and dough kits on the shopping list while building set sales were up 59%.
My colleague Jasper Jolly explains:
Almost a fifth of small businesses
areat risk of collapsing within the next month as they struggle to secure emergency cash meant to support them through the coronaviruslockdown, according to research by an accountancy network.
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has pledged unprecedented aid to companies to try to cushion the blow from much of the economy shutting
down butbusinesses and politicians have raised concerns that there are gaps in the schemes.
Some 18% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) either probably or definitely will not be able to obtain additional cash from the government to survive for a four-week period, according to the Corporate Finance Network.
Its accountancy firm members estimated that almost a third of their 13,000 small-company clients from around the UK would be unable to acquire the cash needed to ride out an extended, three-month lockdown.....
And the unions aren’t happy, and are demanding much better protection for those who can’t work from home.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady fears that some are being exposed to unnecessary Covid-19 risk because their employers are not putting adequate safety measures in place.
The TUC is calling for:
- Strong new rules
fromgovernment on the safety measures employers should put in place
- Every employer that expects workers to come in to work to complete a full formal risk assessment, following government guidance and with the involvement of their staff unions.
- A new enforcement body, involving employers, unions and the Health and Safety Executive. This body would have the power to issue enforcement notices for immediate compliance and to shut down workplaces if employers fail to comply. Similar arrangements are already in place in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
- Protection for workers who refuse to go to work during this period because they are genuinely afraid that they’re being put at avoidable Covid-19 risk
Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, explains:
“With supply chains crumbling around the world, we can only expect a worsening outlook next month as increasingly necessary lockdown measures squeeze manufacturing production.
Only creative and agile thinking, new products and approaches will see the sector through the turbulence ahead.”
UK factories cut jobs at
fastest rate since 2009
Manufacturers have reported that production contracted sharply last month.
Output and new orders both fell at the fastest rate since July 2012. Factories also suffered transport delays and shortages of raw materials, due to global efforts to combat Covid-19.
Data firm Markit, which compiled the report, says bosses are their most pessimistic since their survey began 28 years ago.
With demand slumping at home, and abroad, many customers cancelled orders. And this has led to sharp job losses.The downturns in output and new orders were widespread, with contractions seen across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods sub-industries.
Manufacturers reported that disruption resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, lower market confidence and company shutdowns had all contributed to the drops in production and new business. Business sentiment was also affected, falling
toa series-record low.
Employment fell for the eleventh time in the past 12 months in March, and at the fastest rate since July 2009. Where job losses were reported, these were linked to lower levels of production and new orders, in many cases due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Redundancies, workforce restructuring, natural wastage and only replacing essential positions all contributed to lower staff headcount.This dragged Markit’s UK manufacturing PMI down to a three-month low of 47.8 (showing a contraction).
City regulators effectively forced the banks to scrap dividends, to strengthen their finances.
As The Times puts it:
The co-ordinated action came after the Prudential Regulation Authority gave banks an 8pm deadline to agree to cancel dividend payments and share buybacks and to make a statement by 9pm. If they did not do so, the PRA warned that it could use its supervisory powers to force banks to comply.
Eurozone factories slash jobs as manufacturing output slumps
Manufacturers have reported that output and new orders slumped last month, due to the impact of Covid-19 shutdowns, forcing a surge in job cuts.
This dragged the Eurozone manufacturing PMI (a survey of purchasing managers) down to just 44.5, from 49.2 in February.
Manufacturing output, new orders and exports all fell at the fastest rate since the spring of 2009 (when the global economy was in recession).
Manufacturers also cut their employment levels over the month, with the net reduction in staffing numbers the sharpest recorded by the survey in over a decade. Job losses were especially acute in Austria, Germany and Ireland.Photograph: Markit