Regional Manufacturing Outlook Report 2020

How have manufacturers performed in your region over the last 12 months?

Our sixth Regional Manufacturing Outlook report, produced in collaboration with Make UK outlines how trends in manufacturing have evolved around the UK over the past 12 months. Bringing together four quarters of research, our report highlights manufacturers' contribution to economic regions of the UK in terms of output, jobs, investment, business confidence and their export performance.

The dawn of a new decade came with a renewed optimism from manufacturers about a fresh start for the UK. Following a turbulent 2019, confidence grew, investment rose, and expectations for both output and orders also spiked. Then, almost without warning, the global economy came to a halt with the onset of COVID-19 and orders were cancelled, capital expenditure plans ditched, and many factories closed.

Both the South West and Wales reported high levels of volatility for output and total orders this year. Their respective manufacturing sectors are weighted towards the aerospace subsector, which was one of the first hit as a result of reduced air travel. Other regions in the UK that specialise in transport equipment have suffered too, particularly the North West and West Midlands which are both home to a large number of Motor Vehicles firms.

By contrast, the nations and regions that are weighted most towards Food & Drink have fared relatively better in recent months. The East of England, Yorkshire & the Humberside and Scotland, will no doubt benefit from the increase in household consumption as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

As a result of a particularly challenging year, our 2020 Regional Manufacturing Outlook shows a very negative picture of the individual performance of all regions and nations in the UK. In comparison to our 2019 report, all nations and regions have seen a contraction across the board, with less than a handful of improvements.

Nevertheless, as this year’s Regional Manufacturing Outlook makes clear, no sub-sector of UK manufacturing is immune to the impacts of COVID-19. Yet the sector has shown its strength in responding to the national need for medicines, PPE equipment and ventilators to help us get through these difficult times. While the results of this report might be disappointing, the resilience of UK manufacturers is unquestioned and the importance of maintaining a robust and innovative manufacturing base has been made clear for all to see.

Download the report for the full regional insights and if you would like to discuss any of the topics raised in this report, please do not hesitate to contact Tom Lawton or your usual BDO Manufacturing partner.

Download the Report

Why manufacturing matters?

As our report highlights, the manufacturing sector is hugely important for the UK economy, trade and investment. UK manufacturing employment stands at over 2.7 million people and manufacturing accounts for nearly half of all UK exports. Manufacturing also contributes 10% of all Gross Value Added. It is not hard to see why manufacturing is key to the UK’s trade balance and to see that this will become all the more true post-Brexit.

It is important to us that we understand the challenges that you face in running your manufacturing businesses. It helps us use our skills, experience and knowledge to make a tangible difference to your business.

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