GMB study shows erosion of manufacturing sector in Dorset and Wiltshire since 2006/7

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In the 10 years between 2006/7 and 2016/7 there was a fall of 41,200 in the numbers of workers employed in the manufacturing sector in the Dorset and Wiltshire region. The numbers fell from 296,600 to 255,400, a fall of 13.9%. This means that manufacturing workers make up 9.4% of the total workforce in the region compared to 11.7% in 2006/7.

For the UK as a whole, the number of workers employed in manufacturing fell from 3,552,300 to 2,892,900, between 2006/07 and 2016/17, a fall of 18.6%. Manufacturing in the UK now makes up 9.1% compared to 12.2% in 2006/7

Purbeck had 2,700 employed in the manufacturing sector between in 2006/07. By 2016/17 the figure was just 1,000, a drop of 63%. This was the biggest drop in the South West, and showed that manufacturing workers made up just 4.2% of the total workforce in Purbeck, compared to 14% in 2006/7.

Other areas that saw a fall were Christchurch, where the drop was -60%, followed by East Dorset -32.3%, Weymouth and Portland -26.3%, Poole -13.5%, and Swindon -12.3.

Four local councils in the Dorset and Wiltshire region bucked the trend, with numbers in manufacturing increasing. These included; West Dorset, Bournemouth, Wiltshire and North Dorset.

The figures for the 10 councils are set out in the table below. This is from a new study by GMB Southern Region of official data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for 61 councils in the South East. It compares the number of people employed in the manufacturing industry and as a percentage of all in employment, followed by the changes in numbers and in percentages.

annual population survey
ONS Crown Copyright Reserved [from Nomis on 29 January 2018]

confidence 95% confidence interval of percent figure (+/-)
variable % all in employment who work in – C:manufacturing (SIC 2007)

Area Oct 2006-Sep 2007 Oct 2016-Sep 2017
numerator percent numerator percent change % change
England 3,018,100 12.3 2,464,300 9.2 -553,800 -18.3
Great Britain 3,452,100 12.1 2,812,600 9.1 -639,500 -18.5
United Kingdom 3,552,300 12.2 2,892,900 9.1 -659,400 -18.6

South West 296,600 11.7 255,400 9.4 -41,200 -13.9

West Dorset 2,300 4.7 4,200 9.5 1,900 82.6
Bournemouth 4,600 5.5 7,500 7.3 2,900 63.0
Wiltshire 25,400 11.2 29,600 11.9 4,200 16.5
North Dorset 2,900 9.3 3,000 9.1 100 3.4
Swindon 16,300 15.4 14,300 12.5 -2,000 -12.3
Poole 9,600 14.1 8,300 11.7 -1,300 -13.5
Weymouth and Portland 3,800 12.7 2,800 10.8 -1,000 -26.3
East Dorset 6,200 15.4 4,200 9.6 -2,000 -32.3
Christchurch 2,000 10.7 800 3.2 -1,200 -60.0
Purbeck 2,700 14.0 1,000 4.2 -1,700 -63.0

# These figures are suppressed as statistically unreliable.
! Estimate and confidence interval not available since the group sample size is zero or disclosive (0-2).
* Estimate and confidence interval unreliable since the group sample size is small (3-9).

Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary, said:”This steady erosion of the manufacturing base is continuing with job losses at Britvic and Coleman’s in Norwich as the latest examples.

“However, the erosion cannot be allowed to continue. The UK has a balance of payments deficit of no less than £95 billion which amounts to 5% of our gross domestic product. This is not sustainable and will not be sustained.

“Last year the government published plans for a coherent industrial strategy which must be built on to halt the erosion of manufacturing jobs.

“This requires cooperation between local authorities and national government, the education sector and both employers and unions to bring forward plans for new manufacturing jobs in every area of the region.

“It requires that public procurement is used to promote export sectors and to favour import substitution. On green energy sources for example there should be a threshold for UK sourced parts before a project is eligible for subsidies.

“It is fashionable not to worry about the balance of payments deficit but this is wrong. We need politicians who will provide leadership to address the issue before it is too late. The time is now.”

Contact: Michelle Gordon 07866 369 259 or Charles Harrity 07977 518 042 or GMB Press Office 07970 114 762

Notes to Editors
1.Source: Annual Population Survey from the Office for National Statistics; Nomis
2.Annual Population Survey is residence based and a continuous household survey covering the UK.
3. The data is for all in employment who work in the manufacturing industry for the years to September 2007 and September 2017
4. The APS is the source recommended for employment-related statistics, such as estimates of the number of people in employment or unemployed.