North East firms feel squeeze

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NORTH East small and medium-sized manufacturing firms are feeling the squeeze, according to a new survey.

Figures show they recorded their worst output performance in more than two years.

In the CBI’s latest quarterly SME trends report, the percentage of respondents reporting weaker activity outstripped those seeing higher volumes for the first time since October 2009.

The CBI said the continuing uncertainty over the eurozone and a broader loss of momentum in global growth were being felt by smaller manufacturers.

Alongside the deterioration in activity, optimism about the general business situation has fallen back following an improvement in the previous three months.

Firms also plan to lower capital expenditure in the year ahead and expect to hold off hiring over the current quarter, the CBI added.