Yorkshire manufacturers less confident than any other UK region

Manufacturing performance in Yorkshire & the Humber is down at the start of 2019, with confidence lower than any other region in England.

File photo dated 06/03/02 of steel at a site- photo: PA
File photo dated 06/03/02 of steel at a site- photo: PA

The bleak picture comes in the Make UK survey released today and despite domestic orders still riding high.

Compiled by Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation and business advisory firm BDO LLP, order balances for Yorkshire manufacturers are almost untouched since last quarter, reporting a positive balance of +27 per cent.

However this is tempered with a sharp contraction in the export order book across the region, which shows a decline of 16 points in the last three months.

Investment intentions amongst local manufacturers rose to a positive balance of +15 per cent, up by 6 points on last quarter.

However, in line with predictions at the end of 2018, recruitment was down with employers in the region less keen on hiring staff.

The survey results show employment levels sitting at a balance of just 9 per cent, compared to the recruitment intentions of 37 per cent reported last quarter.

Nationally, for the first time since 2016, domestic orders are stronger than exports. Exports have been hindered by a slowdown in import appetite from other countries and have been unable to pick-up since the very sharp drop in the previous quarter which delivered a disappointing end to 2018.

June Smith, regional manager for Make UK in the North, said: “It is clearly good news for the region that domestic orders have remained strong, however it is no surprise that all the economic forecasts indicate that this will not last. Manufacturing needs certainty over Brexit to boost investment and to protect the jobs of nearly three million people working in the sector across the UK.”