Manufacturing in the South West

IN: Industry news

The manufacturing sector in the South West employs 67,200 people. It contributes £3.1 billion to the local economy and represents 12.8 per cent of the region's economic output.

Almost 1 in 10 manufacturing jobs are based in the South West. The region has a diverse manufacturing sector, with 6.4 per cent of employment in high-technology sectors, 30 per cent in 'medium high-technology' manufacturing. 

And optimism is returning to the region; 58 per cent of South West manufacturers expect an increase in sales over the next six months according to a study from the Manufacturing Advisory service, while more firms are investing in new technology; 42 per cent of SMEs in the region said that they would be investing in equipment in order to improve efficiency. Companies are cautiously optimistic; export balances are up and sales are increasing.

"Positive manufacturing data has been somewhat easier to find in recent months," says EEF South West Region Director Phil Brownsord. "The improved expectations about output and orders in our survey indicators is welcome news."

However, despite the optimism, news from manufacturers in the region is not all positive. The balance of companies increasing headcounts was flat in the region, according to the second quarter Manufacturing Outlook survey from the EEF. "Recovery in the manufacturing sector still remains tentative," commented John Talbot, Senior Manager at BDO LLP.

"Companies are less optimistic about export orders but it is not yet clear whether this is due to difficulties in Europe or in establishing a sustainable presence in fast growing emerging markets."

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