Profits squeeze forces factory job cuts. By Dan Martin

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The UK's long-suffering manufacturers slashed 34,000 jobs during the last three months in an attempt to relieve the squeeze on profits.

Data for 2006's first quarter from the Confederation of British Industry found the number of workers shed was up 9,000 on the previous quarter bringing the total lost over the past 12 months to 122,000.

On the positive side, the report revealed factory demand and future orders expectations edged up after several months of decline but confirmed the spiralling rate of cost rises has continued.

Some 19% more firms said cost wents up between January and March this year, only marginally lower than the 23% peak recorded three months ago.

There is some hope on the horizon however with a balance of 4% of firms reporting an increase in total new orders. This contrasts...

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