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Manufacturing: The numbers from 2018

Manufacturing: The numbers from 2018

Posted in News by BlueTrolley on January 14th 2019
If you’re looking for the key manufacturing facts, figures and trends in the UK in 2018, you’ve come to the right place. It’s been a mixed bag for domestic manufacturing over the last 12 months, so let’s take an unvarnished look at the year’s highlights and lowlights.

The good

The UK undoubtedly remains a powerhouse in manufacturing worldwide, despite losing some standing globally. The manufacturer’s trade body, the EEF, reported in August that productivity growth had grown 3.1% since 2012. In its release, it stated that the manufacturing sector “punched above its weight”, and remains of critical importance to the UK’s economic performance. Manufacturing accounts for 10% of the UK’s output overall.

It also reported that, of approximately 2.7 million employees who work in this sector nationwide, workers’ average pay was above the national average. Its study showed that jobs in the manufacturing sector paid an average of £32,467. The national average wage, as estimated by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), is £27,271.

In terms of selling overseas, the manufacturing sector is strong, and accounts for 45% of the UK’s exports, totalling £275 billion.

The bad

In August, the GMB trade union revealed that the UK had slipped from eighth to ninth place in manufacturing output globally, being superseded by France. Though not great news, it’s worth noting that the UK remains within the top ten, which it had slipped out of in 2012 and 2013. The top slots are occupied by China, the US and Japan.

Following a strong summer, the end of the year has been more shaky. Though the end-of-year figures weren’t available at the time of writing, the ONS reported that in the run-up to October, manufacturing growth fell by 0.9%.

The automotive sector in particular is showing signs of struggling. Big-ticket purchases appear to be in decline, arguably due to consumer uncertainty. And a global surfeit of vehicle production is no doubt squeezing domestic manufacturers.

Coming into 2019, we seem to be seeing the fallout. Following a drop in British car sales for the second year running - to the tune of 7% in 2018 - Ford has announced wide-ranging cuts across its European operations, and Jaguar Land Rover has announced 4,500 job cuts in the UK to attempt to reverse the downward trend.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), falling car production is dragging down manufacturing overall.

The uncertain

We go into 2019 facing an uncertain future, and this is before the Brexit spanner is thrown into the works. The impact that leaving the European Union will have is as yet undetermined. However, there’s no doubt that whatever the coming years might bring, there are noticeable jitters both in business and consumer confidence. The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March, and several predicted outcomes will involve disruption in trade between the UK and the continent.

One thing that does remain certain is that BlueTrolley will continue to provide high-quality warehouse equipment of an impeccable standard. Feel free to browse our trolleys and other material handling equipment. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, send us an email or give us call. Our team are always happy to help.


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