Mixed bag for manufacturing
AUSTRALIA'S struggling manufacturing sector saw some improvement in October with a notable pick up in employment, though firms continued to complain about a high local dollar and foreign competition, a survey shows.
The Australian Industry Group/PriceWaterhouseCoopers performance of manufacturing index (PMI) climbed 5.1 points in October to 47.4, but remained just below the 50 level that marks the threshold between contraction and expansion.
The survey of over 200 companies showed softness in the clothing and footwear and paper, printing and publishing sub-sectors. The textiles; basic metals; transport equipment and miscellaneous manufactures sub-sectors recorded the strongest expansions, in part thanks to stronger demand from mining.
Manufacturing accounts for around 10 per cent of the economy but is being rapidly overtaken by a booming mining sector.
Encouragingly for the jobs outlook, the survey's measure of employment jumped 5.9 points to 51.6, the first reading above 50 in 12 months.