Newly published government figures for economic performance in 2008 show Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year produced a 4.6% rise in Gross Value Added.
The Liverpool economy grew by nearly £400m from £8.2bn to £8.6bn, the highest rise of any of the main UK cities. Liverpool's GVA now stands at 95.6% of the UK average compared with 93.4% in 2007 and 86.6% in 1995.
Gross value per person in Liverpool during 2008 was £19,647 compared with the 2007 figure of £18,727, a 4.9% increase. The UK average rose by 2.8% in 2008 to £21,103.
Lorraine Rogers, chief executive of The Mersey Partnership, the tourist board and investment agency for the city region, said: "These figures are encouraging and illustrate the improvement in our economic performance in 2008 compared to 2007.
"2008 was a year of significant investment in regeneration and in the visitor economy. The increase in Merseyside's GVA is higher than those for England, the North West and the metropolitan areas. Liverpool city region is making good progress in closing the economic gap with the rest of the country. But what the 2008 figures cannot show is the need to rebalance this economy following cuts in public spending. This must be our top priority if we are to continue growing the city region's economy to create wealth and jobs."
The government also released a new set of jobs figures for the city for 2009 from the Business Register Employment Survey. Like all cities, Liverpool lost jobs between 2008 and 2009, having 225,700 jobs in 2009 compared with 228,700 in 2008, a 1.3% fall compared with 4% across other cities.
Initial estimates suggest that the major job losses were in construction, finance, insurance and information and communications. However, there was strong growth in arts and entertainment with an increase of 700 jobs in those areas with health and social care also growing.
Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "These figures show the impact both of the Capital of Culture and major developments such as Liverpool One and ACC Liverpool.
"Our growth was higher than all other major cities and in terms of GVA per head we are now moving towards the UK average, having overtaken Sheffield and Tyneside and being close to Birmingham.
"However, we have to be realistic and acknowledge that we are starting from a much lower base than virtually any other area and only Nottingham of the major cities has a lower GVA than Liverpool even though we are closing the gap with our competitors."