UK Industrial Staff-Levels Back On-Par with EU

Staff-levels at manufacturing plants, a proxy for productivity, in the UK have caught up with those in the EU for the first time in 2020, with attendance even nudging higher than the EU for the first time since April in the last week. Both regions saw a gradual recovery in staffing following a sharp decline in March, but the start of summer saw the UK’s manufacturing recovery stagnate to around half of European levels.

With severe localised outbreaks across the EU over the last few months however, worker presence has declined on the continent while the UK has seen levels double since August. Worker presence at factories in the UK has now reached 52% of last year’s levels, while France has dropped to less than 50%.

While this can be seen as positive news for brand ‘Made in Britain’, the data shows that the UK’s relative gains are due to relapsing staff levels within the EU rather than a notable increase in British productivity. Reports suggest that September was a a slow month for the UK and although there’s clearly a long-term demand for UK manufacturing, rising cases continue to hamper recovery across both geographies.


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