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International comparisons of manufacturing

Published Friday, January 5, 2018

Manufacturing: comparisons of manufacturing in the UK and other major economies since 1970 using UN data.

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This note uses UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) data to compare manufacturing in different countries. The most recent data from this source are for 2015.

Manufacturing output in 2015:

Manufacturing output

  • Chinese manufacturing output was the highest in the world, $2.0 trillion.
  • USA manufacturing output totalled $1.9 trillion, the second highest in the world.
  • The UK’s manufacturing output was $244 billion, the 9th highest in the world.

Manufacturing as a proportion of GDP in 2015: 

Manufacturing as a % of GDP

  • Manufacturing as a proportion of total economic in Taiwan was the highest of the 20 biggest manufacturing countries in 2015 (31%).
  • This was above the other major Asian manufacturing nations: South Korea (29%), China (27%), Indonesia (22%), Japan (19%) and India (16%).

  • In the UK, manufacturing accounted for 10% of the economy.

UK manufacturing rankings: 

UK manufacturing rankings

  • The UK has fallen down the world rank of manufacturing nations in the last decade. Having been the 5th or 6th biggest manufacturer in terms of total output between 1970 and 2004, the UK is now 9th.
  • The USA was the world’s largest manufacturer between 1970 and 2013. It is now the second biggest, having been overtaken by China in 2014.


Commons Briefing papers SN05809

Author: Chris Rhodes

Topics: Economic situation, Industry, Manufacturing industries, World economy

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