Manufacturing Barometer

About the Manufacturing Barometer

The Manufacturing Barometer is a quarterly survey that charts the experiences of UK SME (Small/Medium Enterprise) manufacturers. MDs and Senior Leaders are invited to add their expert input. It is the largest survey of its kind and has informed both government industrial strategy and the national debate on manufacturing. It regularly features in both national and regional media.


Run by SWMAS since 2009 in the South West of England, the Manufacturing Barometer records trends in employment, turnover, and investment. Each quarter, a ‘special focus’ explores an issue 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. Companies are able to use this 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. The greater the number of respondents, the more accurate a picture of the manufacturing sector is produced. Therefore, the more government and other bodies must take into account the support manufacturers need, to ensure they have the necessary help to operate sustainable businesses and grow.


The latest Barometer survey (Q3 2020 - covering October, November, and December 2020)

As the UK begins 2021 with an agreed EU trade deal, this quarter's survey features a special focus on trading beyond Brexit. How do SME manufacturers expect this to impact their business alongside the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and what support is required to help the sector adapt to these changes?


View previous Manufacturing Barometer reports