UK's industrial output is still strong despite dip
Growth in the UK's factories has eased back from a two-and-a-half-year peak but remained on track to help the economy expand further between July and September.
The CIPS/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) survey recorded a level of 56.7 in September, well above the 50 mark which separates growth from contraction.
While down on August's recent peak of 57.1 and below City expectations for a 57.3 reading, economists said manufacturing has contributed to "strong" third-quarter growth.
Employment surged at its fastest level for more than two years, while production and new order growth remained near their August levels.
But exports grew at the weakest pace since May, with economists at consultancy Capital Economics raising fresh concerns about the "balance and sustainability" of the recovery.
They said: "The survey still points to a sector recovering at a rapid clip. A revival in the manufacturing sector looks to be more and more entrenched."