About 22,000 jobs in UK manufacturing could be lost in the next three months as output lags in many areas, the CBI has warned.
The CBI’s latest regional trends survey, based on responses from 770 companies, shows that export orders are falling in most regions – Northern Ireland and the West Midlands being the worst hit.
Business optimism has declined in most parts of the UK, while London and the South East have continued to shed jobs, according to the research.
The CBI said the outlook for the West Midlands was “particularly gloomy”. Output in the region fell for the second consecutive quarter while expectations about the future are the most depressed in the UK.
The situation is brighter in Yorkshire and Humber, which enjoyed a third consecutive quarter of expansion.
Employment has also risen in Wales and the South West in the past six months, but jobs have also continued to be lost in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands.
Doug Godden, CBI’s head of economic analysis, said businesses in the West Midlands and the North East were particularly vulnerable to rising steel prices.
“The impact of rising costs on profitability is a major issue for the second survey in succession,” he said. “We know from the national results that energy-intensive and metal-related industries are being hit hardest.”