Opportunity knocks as Yorkshire sees growth in manufacturing businesses

The number of manufacturing businesses in Yorkshire has grown by four per cent in the past year, according to a study.

Andy Tuscher

Manufacturing accounts for 16 per cent of the region’s total output, the third highest proportion in the UK, the report by manufacturers organisation EEF and accountancy firm BDO LLP.

The sector accounts for 10.5 per cent of the region’s total workforce, with 285,000 people now being employed by manufacturers in Yorkshire.

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Despite this, manufacturers in the region are not immune to post-referendum jitters. Just prior to the vote for Brexit, the region scored 6.4 out of a possible 10 points for confidence – since the vote this score has dropped to 5.4 out of 10.

However, as all the UK regions have suffered a decline in confidence, Yorkshire has been able to retain its second place spot in the UK business confidence rankings.

Andy Tuscher, Yorkshire and Humber region director at EEF, said: “Despite some challenging times, manufacturing in our region remains a force to be reckoned with. This last year shows firms getting back into their stride.

“But the referendum outcome provided a jolt and it’s clear that we’re now on a new path with fresh challenges ahead.”

Before the referendum result, local manufacturers were buoyed by seeing sustained output and employment growth over the last six years.

Expectations since the vote are more mixed than in other regions. Yorkshire firms are the third most likely to immediately review the location of their operations and overseas investment, while a third are concerned about the resilience of their supply chain – the highest for any region.

However, manufacturers in Yorkshire also see more opportunities from Brexit than their peers in other regions with 25 per cent expecting increased demand.