New research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) indicates that business conditions are becoming steadily more and more difficult for the nation's manufacturer's to deal with.
While 23 per cent of firms operating in the sector said that their output volumes increased in the three-month period ending in July, 28 per cent reported that they actually fell.
This resulted is a minus five per cent balance, which is the first fall that has been recorded since October 2009, when the equivalent figure was minus 14 per cent.
Indeed, the Engineering Employers Federation has warned that manufacturers are facing a range of issues - including a competitive disadvantage compared with firms in other countries.
Chair of the CBI's SME Council Lucy Armstrong said: "Smaller manufacturers have stuck by their plans to take on more staff - an increase in numbers employed is perhaps one of the few bright spots in an otherwise muted picture."