About the Manufacturing Barometer

The Manufacturing Barometer is a quarterly survey that charts the experiences of UK SME (Small/Medium Enterprise) manufacturers.
It is the largest survey of its kind, informing both government industrial strategy and the national debate on manufacturing. It also features in national and regional media on a regular basis.


SWMAS has been running the Manufacturing Barometer in the South West of England since 2009. It records trends in employment, turnover, and investment by asking MDs and Senior Leaders to add their valuable input. Each quarter, a ‘special focus’ explores a current topic in greater depth. In the past, this has included issues such as productivity, overseas production, and energy efficiency. 

The Prime Minister referenced statistics from the focus on overseas production in a speech he made to the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2014 to mark the launch of ‘Reshore UK’. This programme supports English Manufacturers who wish to bring production back from abroad. 

Since 2012 the Manufacturing Barometer has covered the whole of the UK. The report was then produced in partnership with the Manufacturing Advisory Service, and when this closed in December 2015, SWMAS continued the survey as the results represent an important voice of the manufacturing sector. Each quarter, companies are able to use the results to compare themselves against other firms within their sector or region.

The Manufacturing Barometer survey welcomes the views of all SME manufacturers based in the UK, and results are shared with regional government representatives to help shape future sector support based on the specific needs highlighted. A greater number of respondents paints a more accurate picture of the UK SME manufacturing sector, therefore every response is vital to help communicate the support manufacturers are calling for to help them operate sustainably, and achieve business growth.

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