Business confidence is down in every UK region for the first time since 2003 as new orders continued to fall, according to gloomy new figures today.
The fall in new manufacturing orders in the three months to July continues a trend that began at the start of this year.
But according to the quarterly regional trends survey from the CBI and Experian, it is now driven exclusively by the continuing slowdown in the domestic economy.
In contrast, export orders, which had declined in the two previous surveys, rose in five regions in the past quarter, and stabilised in two others.
In four regions - Northern Ireland, the South-east & London, Wales and East of England - the decline in export orders continues unabated.
Northern Ireland and the South-east & London are extremely pessimistic about prospects for export orders in the months ahead.
This is in stark contrast to expectations of a further rise in five regions, led by the East Midlands, Scotland and Yorkshire & the Humber.
The widespread downturn in new orders was especially marked in the South-east & London, which registered its sharpest decline in orders for seven years.
All sub-sectors of manufacturing in the region are affected, with the result that overall confidence, export optimism, output trends, employment decline and investment plans in the South-east & London are among the most negative in the UK.
But the South-west saw an encouraging rise and the West Midlands, after a year of steep falls, saw a modest increase - reflecting strong performances in the metal manufacturing and food, drink & tobacco sub-sectors.
While employment contraction at the UK level has moderated compared with the steep falls seen in 2002 and 2003, the pace of job losses in manufacturing continues unabated in the South-east & London, East of England and Northern Ireland.
These regions, along with the West Midlands and the North West, are unsurprisingly, much more pessimistic about the employment outlook than the rest of the UK.
According to Experian estimates based on the survey results, a further 18,000 jobs will be lost to manufacturing nationally in the current quarter, a large figure but still well short of the losses seen during the steep recession of 2001 to 2003.