The West Midlands are leading the post-pandemic manufacturing boom, according to new analysis from the Manufacturing Technology Center, the organization that takes advanced manufacturing technologies from research to reality.
HMRC trade statistics show West Midlands manufacturing exports rose 65% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier, the biggest increase of any region in the UK. It was followed by the North West and East of England, which registered gains of 62% and 58% respectively. The national average was 32%.
The West Midlands exported manufactures, machinery and transport, as well as various manufactured goods worth £ 5.4bn, up from £ 3.2bn the previous year. However, the manufacturing sector in the West Midlands has yet to fully rebound from the pandemic, operating at 82% of pre-pandemic exports.
The pandemic has highlighted the UK’s dependence on global supply chains and the need to relocate our manufacturing capabilities. The Manufacturing Technology Center is calling on the government to promote the relocation of manufacturing – the return of production of goods to the UK – by aligning development spending with research spending in the West Midlands and across the UK. The move will allow the manufacturing sector to return its exports to pre-pandemic levels, stimulate economic recovery and once again become a manufacturing and science superpower.
Clive Hickman, Managing Director of the Manufacturing Technology Center, said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, it is great to see the manufacturing sector in the West Midlands rebounding. Given the world-class people, expertise and facilities, it’s no surprise that the region has seen the largest increase in manufacturing exports in the past year.
However, COVID-19 has illustrated the UK’s dependence on global supply chains. To protect our economy from shocks in the future, the government must do everything in its power to enable the Relocation of Manufacturing Industry: A key step would be to align government development spending with research spending to stimulate economic growth and create jobs in the manufacturing sector.
“As the home of the Industrial Revolution, the West Midlands has the foundation to once again become a global manufacturing hub. At the Manufacturing Technology Center, we are proud to play our part in creating innovation, jobs and economic growth in the region.
Mark Hilton, director of operations at Albert Jagger, an automotive equipment maker, said: “We are proud to see the West Midlands leading the national manufacturing recovery. As a Walsall-based company, we are delighted that we were able to contribute to this success by exporting to over 70 countries.
“The global supply chain crisis has been a challenge for many companies, but Albert Jagger has protected himself by moving production of many products to the UK from China. As a result, 2021 has been the most successful year in our company’s history. “
* image courtesy of Shutterstock