The West Midlands has been overtaken by the South-east as Britain's manufacturing heartland in terms of people employed in the sector.
The South- east now employs more manufacturing workers than any other part of Britain, overtaking other traditional industrial regions in the North-west and East Midlands.
The GMB union said its research highlighted the decline in manufacturing jobs in the former industrial hotbeds.
A total of 693,000 workers in the South- east are employed in manufacturing, almost 20 per cent of Britain's manufacturing workforce.
The West Midlands was the second-highest employer of manufacturing jobs (469,000), followed by the North-west (419,000), East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber (both 367,000).
East Anglia has the lowest number of manufacturing workers at 157,000, followed by Wales (185,000) and the Northern region of England (213,000).
The proportion of the British workforce employed in manufacturing is 13.6 per cent.
Surrey has 54,000 manufacturing jobs, compared with 14,000 in Manchester, the figures showed.
GMB acting general secretary Paul Kenny said: "The fact that the South-east is now Britain ' s largestmanufacturing region reflects the decline in jobs in Britain's former manufacturing heartlands.
"The fact that Surrey has 40,000 more manufacturing workers than Manchester speaks volumes. As a nation we import around £20 billion each month and we consume almost two-million barrels of oil per day and vast quantities of natural gas.
"When the North Sea oil and gas run out the UK, will need its manufacturing industry to maintain the living standards of the citizens."
Mr Kenny said the research showed the importance of securing the future of MG Rover.
He went on to stress: "GMB members are looking to the Government to pull out all the stops to save the company, not just in their short-term interests, but in that of the nation as a whole."
Chris Burton, spokesman for Black Country Chamber, said: "It is only by improving our skills base and looking for new markets abroad that the Black Country and the wider West Midlands can hope to compete."