By Max Clarke

Fresh fears about the UK recovery were this morning confirmed after the manufacturing sector posted its first decline in 2 years.

A UK-wide decline in consumer spending has had overall reduced consumption, resulting in a reduction in orders from industry.

For the past year, government and businesses had vaunted the manufacturing recovery, and how export growth the previously strong sector would pull the remainder of the UK’s beleaguered economy out of stagnation. Today’s contraction further delays the hope of such recovery.

“This is a real shocker,” said Jeremy Cook, Chief Economist at World First. “A number that shows that the UK cannot rely on the manufacturing sector to dig it out of the slowdown.”

“It seems that this year’s early glut of orders was as a result of businesses rebuilding inventories, new orders fell this month to their lowest since May 2009.

“The slowdown in consumer spending has meant that these orders have dried up and hence the contraction.

“Manufacturers will also still be feeling some supply chain issues from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami but this is a secondary reason.

“The PMI is a great indicator of the contribution that a certain sector will make to the quarterly GDP number and with this we can expect that manufacturing will be a hindrance more than anything…”

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