UK manufacturing industry moves to eighth in world rankings


The UK manufacturing industry has climbed one place to eighth in the world rankings, overtaking France in the process. This is according to analysis of the latest official data published by Make UK.

The figures are contained in the latest annual Manufacturing – The Facts, which contains a wide variety of data about the contribution of manufacturing to the economy including exports, sectoral breakdown, how the UK compares to other nations and salary levels.

The data shows that in 2021, UK (the latest year for which global comparisons are available) UK manufacturing output was worth some $272bn, compared to $262bn for France, but behind Italy ($314bn).

Separate data for 2022 from the ONS places UK manufacturing output at £224bn and Make UK believes that, if the Government commits to its call for a manufacturing target of 15% of GDP, (which Make UK estimates would add £142bn to the UK economy) then the sector could aim to match seventh ranked Italy.

With many competitor nations having their own versions of an industrial strategy, Make UK has also repeated its calls for a long-term, modern, and robust strategy which could help turn the 15% ambition into a reality.

The analysis of official data also shows that the US remains the dominant export market for UK goods, worth £56.7bn in 2022. While Germany has lost its place as the second highest destination (£33.3bn), having been overtaken by the Netherlands (£37bn), Make UK cautioned that trade with the Netherlands could be inflated artificially by goods being routed through Rotterdam for onward travel to other destinations.

Ireland is the fourth largest export market (£30.3bn) with six of the top 10 export markets being in the EU. Together they are worth approximately £150bn, almost three times the exports to the US and around four times the amount to China. According to Make UK, this highlights the continued importance of the EU for UK goods and the need to smooth out trade barriers with what remains overwhelmingly its dominant market.

The North West remains the biggest manufacturing area of the UK, worth £28.2bn in output and employing 314,000 people. The sector accounts for almost 15% of North West economic output and 8% of regional employment. Wales has the highest share of manufacturing with the sector accounting for 17.3% of the Welsh economy. This compares to just under 10% national average.

Make UK


Make UK

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