It may seem a bit irrelevant to hark back to state of business in 2018 and 2019. But is just worth reminding ourselves briefly of the position before the current crisis hit us. In November 2019 the provisional figures for manufacturing in the UK for 2018 under the Office of National Statistics Annual Business Survey were published. Overall for the rubber manufacturing sector they showed a slightly improved picture over 2017.
[The best picture we can get of how the British rubber manufacturing sector is faring is the Annual Business Survey by the Office of National Statistics. The precise figures must be taken with a pinch of salt because of the nature of such surveys. But we can get a good idea of trends.
In November 2019 the provisional figures for 2018 were published. The value of gross production showed a modest improvement – from £1.83bn to £1.99bn. Likewise gross value added – which is the indicator of the real value of the industry – went up by a similar percentage from £777m to £846m and employment costs from £438m to £484m. Capital expenditure showed a gratifying rise from £61m to £85m. The total number of firms remained broadly the same at 525.]
We do not yet have any statistics for 2019. Anecdotal evidence suggests that rubber processors and product manufacturers were impacted to various degrees by the general decline in growth experienced in the global economy. Much depended on the particular markets companies were in. Volume automotive was particularly poor, but other markets were stronger such as oil and gas. The impact was most marked in the first half of the year with the second half more buoyant. Raw material availability and prices posed less of a problem than in 2018.