Manufacturing melt-down

2003

Some 700,000 jobs in the UK’s manufacturing sector have disappeared over the past five years according to official research for the Office for National Statistics.

The number of jobs in manufacturing has declined from 17 per cent of all jobs in 1998 to 14 per cent today, falling from 4.2 million to 3.5 million.

Earlier this month, figures from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply revealed that September had seen the first rise in manufacturing employment since October 1999.

But the ONS figures show that over the past five years, employment in industries such as textiles and leather products has fallen by around half as manufacturing moves to cheaper locations abroad.

Other sectors where jobs have fallen included transport equipment, electrical and optical equipment, metals, chemicals and paper and printing. "Not only are 10-12,000 manufacturing jobs being lost every week in the UK, but they are being replaced by low-skilled, low-paid and insecure jobs," Derek Simpson, the general secretary of the Amicus union, said.

"These statistics are devastating, not only for the individuals and families affected, but for the entire UK economy in the longer term."

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