British manufacturing climbs up global rankings

British manufacturing climbs up global rankings

Figures published today by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and Santander, have shown that British manufacturing is continuing its climb up the rankings, with the North East performing particularly well.

The 2016 manufacturing fact card shows that Britain is now the 9th largest industrial nation with an annual output worth $247bn. This accounts for some 10% of Gross Value Added for the UK economy, whilst manufacturing accounts for 14% of business investment and 68% of Business R&D.

This positive picture is reflected in data on employment and earnings, according to the OECD, UK manufacturers have outperformed any country except the United States for job creation since 2010, whilst since 2013 average earnings have risen by 3%, twice the rate of the economy overall.

The picture of what constitutes modern manufacturing is reflected in the sectoral contribution to output and focus on innovation. The largest individual sector is food and drink (17%) whilst the chemicals and pharmaceuticals and transport sectors both account for 14% of output each. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals is also by some distance the largest individual sector driving innovation, spending over a third of the total annual manufacturing R&D.

According to the data the North East accounted for some £7.1bn worth of output, over 15% of the regional economy overall. The data also shows that manufacturing employs just over 117,000 highly skilled people across the region, almost 10% of total employment.

Liz Mayes, region director for EEF in the North East, said: "Given the importance of manufacturing to the North East economy it’s vital that we educate all stakeholders about its real value and contribution to growth across the region. This is especially important in a post-Brexit world where we have to look at possibly all new avenues of generating growth and investment."

Charles Garfit, head of manufacturing, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: "It is great news that the UK has re-entered the top ten manufacturing nations. It is interesting to see that there has been growth in the non-traditional sectors and regions showing the increasing importance that manufacturing has across the country. However, to build momentum on this renewed optimism, manufacturing businesses in the UK must look at the opportunities beyond our own borders to extend their growth potential."