Manufacturing continues to bump along the bottom, according to small firms champion Russell Luckock.
Mr Luckock, of Birmingham pressworks company AE Harris, has revealed his latest six month survey into the state of the industry.
And it is not pretty reading.
Hanging over everything is the cutbacks at Peugeot and the fears for the future of MG Rover.
But some firms are doing well, for example JCB.
Orders for Iraq are strong as they are for the Tsunami disaster area where rebuilding is in full swing. And fire and security firms are picking up work.
According to Mr Luckock, 25 manufacturers have closed down or gone bust so far this year against 115 for the whole of 2004.
UK mid-corporate businesses are less optimistic about the levels of employment than many firms globally.
Grant Thornton's 2005 International Business Owners Survey determined from over 600 businesses in the UK whether they had increased or decreased their workforce in the past year.
Nationally the workforce balance figure - the percentage balance of respondents who say that their workforce has increased and those who say it has decreased in the last year - was plus 24, compared to a global average of plus 26.
Within the UK, business owners in the South-west and Wales were most positive about employee levels, with this region registering a workforce balance figure of plus 38.
By contrast, the East and the Midlands had a workforce balance figure of only plus 12.
A thriving Coventry firm has won a top Midlands award after creating 60 jobs as a result of its expansion plans.
Whites Utilities on Colliery Lane, Exhall, will provide Severn Trent Water with a rehabilitation service for its underground pipe lines in south Birmingham as sub-contractor to support services company Enterprise.
The five year deal is one of the biggest won by the company.
It will increase its workforce to about 160 by the middle of the year.
More jobs are promised when it launches a subsidiary company for the domestic block and tarmac market next month.
Its success has led to it becoming the first Business Achiever named by Allied Irish Bank (GB) and The Hub, a resource centre designed to boost local industry.
Building firm Greswolde Construction has started work on two Birmingham school projects.
The #1.7 million sports hall and business and enterprise centre at Bordesley Green Girls School and the #1.2 million sports hall at Selly Park Technology College for Girls will provide opportunities for local junior schools and their communities, as well as students.
The schools have been waiting a decade for work to start.
Funding has come from the Big Lottery Fund.
Both projects should be finished by the autumn.
The Selly Park one will add a sports hall and changing facilities to a 100 year-old 760-pupil technology college.
The Bordesley Green Girls' School development will encompass a sports hall, changing facilities, three new classrooms to replace old temporary ones and a high-tech business centre to suit Bordesley's prestigious status as a Specialist Business and Enterprise School.
Some life insurance firms could struggle for survival under the pressures of new regulations and a challenging economic environment, according to a report by accountancy firm Deloitte.
And the public could soon find that levels of product choice begin to diminish.
The report, 2005: UK Financial Services at a Watershed, looks at the impact of regulation on banking and life insurance markets and is based on a survey of leading financial institutions.
Deloitte says an avalanche of regulatory initiatives and new business economics is poised to change the face of UK retail financial services over the next 3-5 years.
The report notes that making the transition to the new financial landscape will require capital and Deloitte argues that some firms, notably the larger institutions and particularly the banks, have a distinct starting advantage.