Exeter Set To Lead For Economic Output And Jobs
A new economic report has highlighted the value of innovation to the success of businesses in the South West, but projections for Bristol and Exeter for the next 12 months reveal the differences that exist in the north and south of the region.
The UK Powerhouse report, produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr), analyses 50 of the largest local economies by employment and GVA growth.
In the report, Bristol is expected to see the size of its economy grow by 2.7% by the end of 2022, adding £300m on 2021 and seeing the city slip from 10th to 23rd in the report’s Powerhouse league table.
In the south of the region, Exeter’s economic output will remain steady, predicted to be 3.6% by the end of 2022, maintaining the city’s 8th place spot out of the 50 cities surveyed.
In terms of the number of people in jobs, Bristol will see a modest headcount rise of 1.1%, but still leaving the city in the bottom 20 for jobs. Exeter on the other hand is expected to see a significant improvement, with 1.9% year-on-year growth, lifting the city from 22nd place in 2021 to 12th by the end of 2022.
The report makes several recommendations that could assist businesses recover post-pandemic. These include the greater adoption of technology, given the use of digital tools is now here to stay. The report also urges business to adapt to and take advantage of the UK’s Brexit status and take full advantage of the post-pandemic headwinds, by positioning themselves for growth.
A key component is set to be innovation and UK Powerhouse shows the South West has the largest share of businesses engaged in innovation, on 41%. This equates to 9,900 businesses actively innovating in the region, with improving the quality of goods or services the key factor driving the change.
Hannah Clipston, partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The projected experiences for both Bristol and Exeter give a fascinating snapshot of how the South West is set to perform in the coming year.
“On the face of it, the South West leads the UK in business innovation and it may be that factor that is keeping Bristol from slipping even further in economic output and delivering something of a bounce back in the jobs market by the end of 2022.
“Exeter may not have Bristol’s much touted creative sector, but is set to eclipse its northern regional rival in terms of economic growth, and being a top ten city for GVA output in 2022 is no mean achievement and employment will improve to be only just outside the top ten rankings too.
“Back in 2019, we reported Exeter had one of the fastest growing economies in the South West and the resilience of the city continues to see it match many others during a challenging period across the country. Exeter has always had a reputation for robust IT and professional services sectors and this feeds into the innovation angle identified in the report as a key driver for success.
“The projections for Bristol show innovation is not necessarily enough on its own to deliver a headline grabbing economic boost but with Exeter, both show that innovation and embracing the digitisation of the economy is essential. Some businesses, even in the South West will need help with this transition and its vital businesses receive the right level of support to help them deliver.”