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Growing number of manufacturers expect longer road to recovery

The number of manufacturers believing it will take more than a year for them to return to normal trading doubled in less than two weeks during May, according to research by Make UK.

In Make UK’s first COVID-19 Manufacturing Monitor published at the start of May, only 17 per cent of manufacturers predicted it would take more than 12 months to get back to their pre-coronavirus trading levels. However, a second survey published just two weeks later showed that the figure had more than doubled to 36 per cent.

The number of North West firms reporting a decrease in orders also increased in this period from 74 per cent to 79 per cent. Nevertheless, almost 90 per cent of companies were still continuing to operate in some form, though over a fifth had furloughed between a quarter and half of their staff. Around a fifth of companies also reported that they were planning to furlough more employees over the coming weeks.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, commented:

“If we thought we were in for a long haul before now, then this puts into stark context the reality for many companies over the next year. It’s clear that it is going to be a long road back to anything like normal trading conditions and, despite the lockdown beginning to be lifted, there will be a significant impact on companies and jobs for some time to come.

“Government has been very supportive to date with the various schemes to help companies and protect jobs ahead of what is clearly going to be a major downturn. If we are now looking even further into the horizon to fully recover, there might need to be everything on the table to ensure the economy is sustained through this period.”

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