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BUSINESS LIFE: '5,000 jobs to go in manufacturing'.

Byline: By STEWART SMITH

MORE than 5,000 manufacturing jobs in the West Midlands could be lost over the next three months, with more to follow.

A survey by the Confederation of British Industry shows manufacturing output in the West Midlands has slowed and confidence, orders and job prospects are lower in the region than anywhere else in the UK.

It says part of the problem is the region's reliance on metal-based industries, as rising steel prices hit engineering firms hard.

The CBI report says the West Midlands is lagging behind the rest of the country, which is showing signs of recovery.

And its report speculates that last week's A per cent interest rate will add to the gloom as it will strengthen the value of the pound, making exporting harder.

Nationally, the recovery in manufacturing has slowed following a strong upturn earlier in the year.

But the CBI says despite the slowdown in manufacturing output growth during the three months to the end of July, it does not see this as a reversal in the sector's fortunes, and its overall position continued to improve in most regions.

The CBI also estimates that, nationally, a further 14,000 jobs will be lost in manufacturing during the coming three months.

Doug Godden, CBI head of economic analysis, said: "Following a strong six months, the UK's manufacturing recovery has moderated.

"Challenges lie ahead - in particular, the strength of sterling on the one hand and rising raw material and fuel costs on the other.

"This explains why confidence in some regions, such as the West Midlands, remains depressed."

Kevin Curran, general secretary of the GMB, said: "The loss of almost one million manufacturing jobs is a massive tragedy."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 10, 2004
Words:285
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