LONDON (AP) -- U.K. manufacturers reported a slight improvement in conditions in November though employment fell for the 19th consecutive month, an industry group said Tuesday.
The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said its purchasing managers' index stood at 51.8 in November, down from 53.4 in October. Any figure above 50 indicates a net expansion in activity in the sector.
The index, prepared in partnership with financial information company Markit UK, is calculated using data collected on new orders, production, employment, supplier performance and stocks of purchases.
In recent months, the index has been more optimistic than official data on manufacturing output.
"Even if the CIPS surveys remain a bit more upbeat than the official data, it is looking like the U.K. economy should have pulled out of recession this quarter," said economist Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics. "But the recovery is clearly struggling to maintain momentum, suggesting that growth next year will be pretty modest."
David Noble, the Institute's chief executive, said the manufacturing sector "has slowly but surely started to grow again and conditions are looking decidedly less sickly than at the start of the year."
However, he noted a slowdown in new orders since October. "There are already signs that the rebound in growth may be nearing its peak, leaving question marks over the longer term outlook and the possibility of a double-dip recession," Noble added.