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North West retains manufacturing top spot

The North West remains the UK’s leading manufacturing region by output, number of employees and average relative salary, according to the latest annual analysis from Make UK.


Make UK’s annual UK Manufacturing Facts update shows that the North West’s manufacturing output was worth £27.2 billion last year, down from £28.5 billion but still nearly £5 billion more than the second-placed South East.

Around 342,000 people were employed in the sector within the North West, and the region also tops the table for relative salary. The average manufacturing job in the North West pays 19.4 per cent more than the overall salary average for the region.

Nationally, the manufacturing sector was worth £191 billion to the economy last year, meaning the UK keeps its position as the ninth largest manufacturer in the world, and tenth in terms of exports.

The findings show that goods accounted for 53 per cent of the UK’s total exports before the Coronavirus outbreak, up from 44 per cent the previous year. The US was the largest single importer, with exports growing by an impressive 19 per cent year-on-year.

However, Europe made up seven of the UK’s top ten export markets and therefore remains the largest manufacturing export destination overall. The top European destinations were Germany, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and Italy. China was the only other non-European country to make the top ten.

Paul Brooks, Head of Manufacturing at Santander UK, which helped to compile the data, said:

“Retaining our position as the ninth leading manufacturer makes it clear that the UK is still a major player on the international stage.”

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