Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham service sector 'out-performs manufacturing'

The service sector is out-performing manufacturing in Birmingham and Solihull, according to chamber of commerce figures.

The Birmingham chamber's last quarterly economic survey for 2010 recorded the highest sales and fullest orders books for more than a year in the sector.

About half of companies reported a rise in home sales and advance orders.

The chamber said the only bright spot among manufacturing firms was in export orders, with 45% reporting an increase.

Chamber president Dr Christine Braddock said: "This survey marks a sea-change in the economic performance of Birmingham and Solihull.

"For years the area has relied on a strong manufacturing sector but the survey confirms that there is a marked change in our economic base."

The service sector includes the media and marketing sector, retail and wholesaling, tourism, the hotel and catering trades, lawyers, accountants and cultural and creative specialists.

In terms of employee figures, 18% increased their workforce over the past three months, with 18% looking to recruit in the next quarter.

As for manufacturing firms, the chamber said sales and orders at home were down while sales overseas were largely static with 42% recording an increase and 24% reporting a decrease.

Figures for jobs in manufacturing were the lowest for more than a year with most firms recording static or smaller workforces.

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