Rate : Manufacturing

Rates are used to define comparative statistics that can be mapped and graphed. For example, our occupational information includes counts of the number of workers in employment and out of employment, as well as the total number of workers. We then define a measure called the 'Unemployment Rate', which uses the number out of work rather than the number in work, and expresses it as a percentage of the total, rather than a rate per thousand. The descriptive text in the system is defined mainly for rates.

Rate (R)
IND_SECTOR_GEN:manuf * 100.0 / INDUSTRY_TOT:total
Display as:
Continuous time series
Despite Britain's reputation as the 'workshop of the world', manufacturing employed only slightly more people than services in 1841, and by 1881 it employed significantly less. Of course, if we ignore women workers, and especially all the female domestic servants, manufacturing seems larger. It is also true that our 19th century data tend to overstate the size of manufacturing, because many goods were made not in factories but in small workshops behind shops: the same people made the goods at the back and served at the front, but are counted as in 'manufacturing'. This pattern meant, of course, that every major town would have a significant 'manufacturing sector'.

However, in 1841 this meant most districts having 20-30% of the workforce in manufacturing, with some rural areas and seaside resorts dropping to around 12%. A relatively small group of districts had over 50% of their workforces in manufacturing, and mostly in a single dominant industry: textile towns like Blackburn and Oldham, with over 70% in manufacturing; the pottery towns now in Stoke on Trent, with 62%; the shoe-making centre of Leicester, with 56%. Of course, with the exception of London manufacturing was concentrated mainly in the north and midlands.

Such extreme concentration on single industries inevitably meant a poor quality of life, in communities so lacking in services for their populations. As the new industrial towns matured, both the overall proportion in manufacturing and the numbers in their dominant industries declined. The concentration of manufacturing into the north continued up to 1931, but new industrial centres based on consumer goods were growing in the south. Slough, whose population grew from 20,285 in 1921 to 52,590 in 1939, is a classic example. In 1881 it was a rural area, with 13% of its workers in manufacturing, but by 1971 this was 53% -- making the subsequent decline to 16% in 2001 striking evidence of Britain's de-industrialisation.

That decline has not brought poverty to Slough! In modern Britain, the most prosperous areas contain few factories, but this does not mean they are not involved in the manufacture of goods. Instead, they have become centres of management, marketing and research for goods which are physically manufactured somewhere else. That 'somewhere else' may well be outside Britain altogether, maybe in the booming industries of eastern China. If it is in Britain, it will probably be somewhere where the labour is cheaper. One interesting feature of the map of manufacturing in 2011 is its expansion in some of the old mining areas, such as South Wales. Of course, if the 'goods' are, for example, music CDs, we may have a different idea of what 'making it' means, taking more interest in the recording studio than the pressing plant. Much the same is true of IT products and high fashion goods, and the south-east's dominance of IT and fashion is striking.

Rate " Manufacturing " is contained within:

Themes, which organise the database into broad topics:

Entity ID Entity Name
T_IND Industry

Rate " Manufacturing " contains no lower-level entities.