UK Manufacturing seems to be on the Up

Original post date: October 29, 2021
Adam Dolman

Recently we have been in times of uncertainty within the manufacturing industry with many companies looking to make redundancies and restructure to save costs. With the West Midlands being the heart of UK manufacturing, it seems they have been hit hard. But is it all as doom and gloom as it seems? Time to delve a little deeper into the market to find out more.

Stats over the past 45 years are showing a steady decline for manufacturing’s share of the UK economic output, in terms of GVA, with a drop from 17% in 1990 to 10% in 2017. However, this isn’t necessarily due to a downturn in production. Over the last 30 years, there has been a growth in other industries, particularly the services sector, which has impacted the economy share stats. In fact, manufacturing output in 2017 was actually 6% higher in real terms compared with 1990. The services sector output rose by a whopping 97% in the same period. It accounted for 79% of the economy in 2017, up from 69% in 1990.

Britain is currently the world’s 9thlargest manufacturing nation by output and despite recent concern, UK manufacturing seems to be on the up. If the current growth trends continue, the UK could break into the top five by 2021. Impressively, in the UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of GVA, 44% of total UK exports, 70% of business R&D and directly employs 2.6 million people.

Despite JLR announcing in January that they planned to cut 4,500 jobs as part of a £2.5 billion cost saving initiative, they later revealed in July that they planned to build their electric vehicles at the i54 in Wolverhampton, safeguarding thousands of jobs. With 1,100 automotive businesses in the West Midlands, employing 28% of the UK’s overall automotive sector and contributing £3.2m to the regional economy, this is great news.

And it isn’t just the automotive industry that seems to be investing. Corbetts the Galvanizers who specialise in hot dip galvanizing in Telford, have just announced a  £105,000 investment to expand their fleet by adding 3 new articulated lorries, enabling them to now collect and deliver 95% themselves. Following this trend, Goodwin Steel Castings based in Stoke-on-Trent have recently reported their order book is up 94% from the same time last year.

Unfortunately, there will always be companies who face a hard time and struggle to ride it out and with Brexit on the horizon, will we see more of a decline? Or will we become open to other markets that we weren’t before? Will we rely on UK manufacturing more than ever? Despite all the uncertainty we currently face, there are so many exciting expansions, investments and movements in the manufacturing industry at the moment, we just need to look in the right places.