A further 9,000 manufacturing jobs are set to disappear in the West Midlands in the current quarter, according to a report backed by the CBI.
That would account to a further 2.5 per cent erosion of the region's industrial base and come on top of a number of high profile cutbacks, such as the loss of 2,000 jobs following the closure of Peugeot's car assembly plant at Ryton, near Coventry.
In fact, the West Midlands is missing out on an "encouraging" national manufacturing scene, the latest CBI snapshot of the sector shows.
While the rest of the country, led by the North, is reporting rises in orders and output over the last three months, business confidence in the West Midlands remains depressed.
The CBI quarterly Regional Trends Survey, produced in association with business data group Experian, paints an upbeat picture for the country as a whole.
The rise at UK level in new manufacturing orders over the past three months was the strongest since the spring of 2004.
The North West posted the strongest gains since 1995 and the North East was not far behind, the CBI data showed.
"Expectations of new orders for the next three months are very positive in the North East, driven by an extremely buoyant export order book," the report said.
But, in contrast with the most recent Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey, it painted a dark picture of the West Midlands industrial scene.
"Business confidence deteriorated in the latest survey by more than in any other part of the UK, continuing the depressed mood of recent years in this region," the report said of the West Midlands.
While the UK as a whole was upbeat about export prospects, the region's sentiment on overseas orders "registered a sharp decline".
It added: "The region is the only one in the UK expecting a clear fall in export orders in the next three months. Unit costs rose strongly in the past quarter, with the increase above the UK average.
"However, both domestic and export prices increased, easing pressure on profit margins."
The CBI report was based on a survey of 556 companies nationally between December 14 and January 10.
Local manufacturers were understandably feeling a little gloomy over that period, Birmingham Chamber believes.
"With Christmas and New Year plus an interest rate rise, you would expect companies to feel a bit deflated," a chamber spokesman said.
Despite the generally upbeat national picture, Experian is predicting a further 30,000 job losses in manufacturing in the current quarter.
Such a rate of attrition would represent an acceleration of the existing trend, but would be well short of the losses seen in the "steep recession" of 2001/03.
"The West Midlands is forecast to see the largest absolute fall (9,000 jobs lost) and the sharpest decrease in percentage terms (2.5 per cent) followed by the South East and London (7,000 job losses)," the report said.
Peter Gumann of Experian said: "The survey results confirm an encouraging trend in UK manufacturing orders and output, but highlight an uneven regional performance in recent months."
CBI economist Doug Godden added: "UK manufacturing activity has picked up at a rate not witnessed for some time."