Regional Manufacturing Outlook Report 2021

Manufacturing industry records highest and lowest balance figures in the space of four quarters

How has manufacturing performed in each UK region and nation over the last year? What impact has COVID-19 and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement had on manufacturing performance? How does manufacturer’s confidence compare to 12 months ago? These are some of the questions answered in the seventh edition of the Regional Manufacturing Outlook Report.

The Regional Manufacturing Outlook report with Make UK highlights the peaks and troughs manufacturers have experienced across the nation over the last year, supported by the quarterly Manufacturing Outlook data which measures key indicators such as output, orders, employment, and investment intentions. 

This edition covers a period of four quarters in which the first two saw the industry grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, one where there was a transition to growth, and finally the most recent quarter that saw explosive improvements in manufacturing performance. The manufacturing industry across the UK has endured extreme volatility as all regions were hit hard by COVID-19. The last year saw record lows in terms of percentage balances in orders, output, investment and recruitment as the impact of the pandemic took hold. By contrast, we also saw record highs as manufacturers accelerated their recovery in the first half of 2021.

The report also identifies how experiences for manufacturers differed regionally, and in most instances, the impact has been dependent on which manufacturing subsectors are dominant in given areas. Regions with a prominent Aerospace and Automotive base felt the impact of production stopping overnight during the pandemic and those with a Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Food & Drink prominence saw activity thrive.

Only one UK region, the North West, produced average positive balances across the board. While the West Midlands has been the top performer at maintaining output levels on average during the pandemic. The East Midlands improved its investment outlook more than any other region. 

The South East remains the biggest employer, with 428,000 manufacturing jobs in the region, however, it was the North West that had the most improved employment figures compared to the previous year. 

Download the 2021 Regional Manufacturing Outlook Report for the full regional insights, including:

  • Manufacturing performance in each UK region over the 12 months 
  • Economic contribution manufacturing makes to each region in terms of jobs and regional output
  • Key export markets and subsectors
  • Manufacturing productivity statistics.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics raised in this report, please do not hesitate to contact Richard Austin or your usual BDO Manufacturing partner.

Download the Report

Image credit: © Technicians Make It Happen


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