Outlook bright for GM economy

Business, financial and professional services are forecast to grow by £7.3bn in Greater Manchester in the next decade according to the latest annual research by Oxford Economics commissioned by New Economy.

Wholesale and retail is expected to add £2.4bn and cultural and creative £2.3bn. All forecasts use the GVA, gross value added, economic measurement. A 1.7% per annum growth in manufacturing is also expected. However, employment levels in this sector are likely to reduce by 10,000 jobs as the industry continues to move towards high value production.

The top three occupation types by growth in the next decade are expected to be professional, with 17,000 extra jobs, associate professional and technical, 14,000 jobs, and management, directors and senior officials, 12,000 jobs. Greater Manchester can expect to gain 110,000 new jobs over next decade.

The sub-region's economy is currently worth £54.8bn a year. Oxford Economics expects average growth of 3% a year until 2024.

Authors of the report revised their forecasts upwards from last year following a "slightly better than expected" performance in 2014.

Based on the latest available data, it is now anticipated there will be a net gain of 110,000 new jobs across Greater Manchester by 2024, an increase of almost 10% when compared to last year's forecast.

The outputs are part of the Greater Manchester Forecasting Model, produced annually by Oxford Economics for New Economy on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The purpose of GMFM is to provide a consistent evidence base for use in strategy and policy development.

John Holden, director of research at New Economy, said: "The Greater Manchester Forecasting Model is the UK's most sophisticated local economic forecasting tool and has been designed to illustrate the direction in which our economy is heading. As with all forecasts, the results should be treated with a degree of caution, but they nevertheless provide a robust basis on which both businesses and the public sector can develop plans for the future.

"The indicators are broadly more positive with this year's update, reflecting improved economic performance over the past 12 months and may yet need to be revised upwards as the figures do not fully take into account the recent devolution deal, which has the potential to boost growth further. However, while the forecasts give every reason to be optimistic about Greater Manchester's economic future, airing on the side of caution we would also advise those using the forecasts to keep check of the many factors which could potentially disrupt this direction, not least the possibility of another EU-wide recession."

Kerry Houston, lead economist at Oxford Economics, said: "The Greater Manchester economy is expected to remain as a key driver of the North West. Employment growth over the next decade will continue to be dependent upon gains in the professional services and admin & support sectors. The public services sectors, by contrast, are forecast to endure further contractions, as austerity measures continue to be implemented. This sectorial story has implications for the pattern of growth across the city region."

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