Worcestershire manufactures its economic growth, literally

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Now in its fourth year, the 2019 Worcestershire Growth Barometer, published by national accountancy practice BDO, reveals the ambition of Worcestershire businesses

Manufacturing, the sector which has driven Worcestershire’s corporate growth for years, is again leading the county’s economy. But the 2019 Worcestershire Growth Barometer, published this month by national accountancy practice BDO, reveals a vibrant retail and wholesale industry snapping at its heels.

This year’s top 50 fastest-growing Worcestershire companies includes 18 manufacturing and precision engineering businesses and 12 retail, wholesale and leisure players.

These two sectors account for 62 per cent of the number of businesses in the top 50.

The 2019 Worcestershire Growth Barometer includes data on the financial health of Worcestershire’s 50 fastest growing businesses alongside original research on some of the county’s most exciting and ambitious businesses.

Collectively, the manufacturing and precision engineering companies in the top 50 made almost £1.8 billion in the last year under review, compared to less than £1.1 billion for businesses in retail, wholesale and leisure.

County’s booming growth is increasingly becoming a two-horse race

Business growth in Worcestershire is increasingly becoming a two-horse race between manufacturers and retailers.

Jointly, these sectors accounted for almost 83 per cent of turnover in this year’s top 50, a higher level of industry dominance than in any other area surveyed by BDO.

But what is going on in other sectors? In BDO’s 2016 growth report, the food and agricultural sector accounted for £340 million in turnover. In this year’s top 50, three food and agricultural sector businesses collectively pulled in less than £46 million.

It’s a similar story with professional services. Two years ago, this sector was the third largest by turnover, but does not appear at all in this year’s results.

Only real estate and construction has maintained its place in the top 50. This year just seven companies in the sector make a combined £274 million, roughly the same as in last year’s Growth Report list.

This turnover trend has a direct bearing on jobs, with manufacturing, retail and wholesale accounting for more than 11,800 out of the almost 15,300 workers employed by this year’s top 50 companies.

Overall, revenues across this year’s top 50 have grown by almost 51 per cent compared to two years ago. That’s not far off the average growth rate of the manufacturing and retail sectors combined.