Manchester city region economy increasing, says report

Michael Hunt

Manchester's city region economy has been transformed due to a significant increase in the amount of people employed in knowledge based industries of financial and business services, according to a report released today.

The report, titled Understanding Labour Markets, Skills and Talent and issued as part of the Manchester Independent Economic Review, cites a 120% increase in employment in these sectors since 1981.

The report said these increases, coupled with a 54% reduction in the number of people employed in manufacturing, has transformed the economic landscape of the city region and the opportunities available for graduates and local communities.

As people embrace new job opportunities there is also evidence to suggest people are gaining further qualifications to match new requirements, with a 5% increase in the number of local people qualified to degree level or above in the past five years.

Speaking about the significance of the report, Barbara Spicer, chief executive of Salford City Council, said: "What's important now is to ensure there is a skills base in place to fuel success in areas that are yet to see such benefit, so that the full productivity and potential of the 'new-look' city region can be realised.

"This can be most easily addressed by a long-term partnership between public, private, educational and community stakeholders."

However, the transformation of the city region's economy has wide-ranging implications for policy makers if Manchester is to continue to remain the dominant economic force outside of London and the South East.

Particular examples of this economic transformation include:

  • In the business services sector, employment growth has been particularly strong in the core employment area of Manchester, Salford Quays and Trafford, along with Warrington and Stockport. The development of out of town business parks has also underpinned growth in this sector
  • Financial services employment has expanded most strongly in Salford, Trafford and Vale Royal. The latter reflects the development of business premises in the Northwich area which now house a small number of financial services operations
  • The creative and media sector remains concentrated in the core employment area, particularly Manchester and Salford, and is set to see significant expansion through the development of MediaCityUK at Salford Quays
  • For the most part, public sector employment has expanded in locations across the city region, reflecting the sustained period of investment in public services during the millennium. The increases in this sector are strongly associated with both population growth and higher levels of expenditure on public services nationally

The Manchester Independent Economic Review is the largest independent economic review to be conducted by a city region in Europe.

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