Mid-Table Economic Output Outshined By A Top Five Finish In The Employment League Table
A new economic study suggests Leeds will see a slight decline in its economic output in 2022, but that employment will bounce back to see the city in the top five cities for jobs in 12 months.
The latest UK Powerhouse report by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), suggests that Leeds will have a relatively weak economic performance, with a GVA of 7.0% in Q4 2021, declining to 2.4% by the end of Q4 2022. This makes the economy £600m larger compared to the year before, leaving Leeds 36th in the league table of 50 Powerhouse cities.
In terms of the number of people in work, Leeds is projected to improve on its ninth position in Q4 2021 to fifth by the end of Q4 2022, with a 2.2% increase equating to 11,500 new positions being filled.
The report suggests that the emergence of Leeds as an entrepreneurial hotspot for the media and entertainment industry has a big part to play in this success. The arrival of Channel 4’s national headquarters is set to act as a catalyst for a flourishing digital and creative sector, generating new business and employment opportunities.
With the city in the Powerhouse play-off places for its employment prospects, it’s appropriate that the report also highlights the value of sports clubs as vehicles for generating significant amounts of economic activity. The success of Leeds United on the pitch is shown to have given the city a relatively high sports sector GVA and percentage shares of total GVA.
Hannah Clipston at Irwin Mitchell said: “While the economic growth of Leeds is not what many might have hoped for by the end of next year, the projected recovery in the jobs market is welcome and the city has the assets to establish firm foundations for future sustainable growth.
“Leeds looks the natural leader in West Yorkshire and the wider region for the levelling up agenda and the arrival of the infrastructure bank, coupled with the Leeds Digital Skills Action Plan and The Leeds Economic Recovery Framework, show the city has already acted on some of the report’s recommendations and this is likely to be a driver of success.
“The arrival of Channel 4 is already leading a digital drive and building on the city’s existing reputation as a northern hub for media and creative businesses. With £3.9bn invested in large scale development over the last ten years, the report suggests this activity is starting to bear fruit.
“The economic output figures are a warning that the city can’t afford to be complacent if it wants to be more than a mid-table performer but importantly, many of the building blocks are in place to give the city a springboard to recover from the worst effects of the pandemic in the months ahead.”
Irwin Mitchell’s report also examines to what extent disruption in the economy leads to innovation.
Here the study reveals that the South West and the South East have the largest share of businesses engaged in innovative activity. According to the study, 41% of businesses in the South West are defined as innovative.
Hannah added: “Businesses have been incredibly resilient over the last couple of years and have faced many disruptors including COVID, labour shortages, supply chain issues and high fuel costs.
“Our latest study recommends that irrespective of the sector they’re in, organisations should be adopting technology more quickly and adapting to the UK’s new status after Brexit.
“All of this will require a shift in approach and for innovation to be celebrated and nurtured more than it is currently. It’s vital that businesses are encouraged to follow this path and receive the right level of support in order to help them succeed.”