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East Lancashire has around 20% (50,000) of its workforce directly engaged in manufacturing and it is estimated that a similar number are employed in the supply chain. This is over double the national average and represents a significant contribution to the UK’s ranking of 10th in the international manufacturing standings. While 1 in 5 jobs is in aerospace, the extraordinary range of other products reflects the area’s long heritage and proven expertise in all aspects of engineering and innovation.
The Chamber has a strong manufacturing base and has continued to develop programmes and networks for the sector – ignoring the long-held prevalent attitude that manufacturing was no longer an essential part of a modern British economy.
The area has traditionally had a service sector aligned to local manufacturing which has dwindled as manufacturing employment has declined, leaving a low-wage : low-productivity rump. However that is changing and a new breed of technology-driven service companies is emerging and filling many of the remaining local mills. Similarly while small in number, our leading professional services companies have expanded into neighbouring areas and are increasingly thinking nationally and internationally.