North West manufacturers on an upward trajectory, says new report

Healthy demand emanating from both home and foreign markets has seen North West firms build on the momentum seen in 2017, recording healthy output and order balances across the year so far

Exports, containers, port
Exports are helping to drive growth among North West manufacturers


There has been a 4.5% increase in the number of people working in manufacturing across  the North West since 2010 and the sector now accounts for almost 10% of the region’s workforce.

Pharmaceutical is the dominant sub-sector, accounting for almost a fifth of North West manufacturing, according to a new report from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountancy firm BDO.

It also shows North West manufacturers have built on the momentum seen in 2017, recording healthy output and order balances across the year so far. This impressive performance has come about as a result of healthy demand emanating from both home and foreign markets.

Transport, especially aerospace, has also been a strong performer for the North West on the back of strong order books and a seemingly insatiable demand for air travel.

The North West also continues to be a strong export performer, accounting for almost 10% of total UK manufacturing exports. The region depends slightly less than other regions on exports to the EU and has the highest share of any UK region of exports to Africa and the Middle East accounting for 11.3% of the regional total.

Richard Halstead, director of member engagement for EEF in the North, said: “The report shows that industry continues to have an increasingly vital role to play in the North West.

“The last year has seen a strong performance with lofty heights being reached in the second half of last year and it is no surprise to see some easing back in the first half of 2018.

There are well-documented challenges going forward, not least those facing the automotive and construction supply chains. Furthermore, the progress of Brexit negotiations has the potential to be a factor in the future performance of manufacturers in the North West.”

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