The annual report provides a longer-term picture of the health of UK manufacturing, showing that the North East now boasts almost 4,100 manufacturing firms, up 3.3% year-on-year. Manufacturing accounts for 15.5% of the region’s total output - above the national average – with pharmaceuticals, mechanical equipment and metals the key sectors.
The number of manufacturing jobs in the region has increased by 1.7% between 2010 and 2016, with 117,000 people employed by manufacturers across the region, equal to 9.8% of the region’s total workforce.
The region accounts for 5.2% of the UK’s manufactured exports – the 8th biggest contribution by a single region – and 69% of the region’s exports are destined for European countries.
Liz Mayes, North East region director at EEF, says: “Despite some challenging times, manufacturing in our region remains a force to be reckoned with. This last year shows difficult conditions in the region starting to dissipate. But the referendum outcome provided a jolt and it’s clear that we’re now on a new path with fresh challenges ahead.
“With a solid business environment, supportive policies and the right outcome from Brexit negotiations, manufacturers in this region should be able to overcome the risks, reap future growth rewards and get their business confidence back on track.”
Jason Whitworth, corporate finance partner and head of manufacturing at BDO LLP in the North East, says: “Businesses must remain engaged and adaptable to continue to trade profitably through the changes in the short term and make the most of the opportunities they may offer.”
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