Leeds set employment growth standard in Q1 2018, finds Irwin Mitchell

Yorkshire was home to some of the best-performing city economies in the UK in the first three months of this year, with Leeds leading the way in employment growth, according to a new report from Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

The UK Powerhouse study provides an estimate of growth and job creation based on gross value added (GVA) within 46 of the UK’s largest cities. Published this month, the latest report revealed that Rotherham enjoyed the 10th highest level of GVA growth in the UK in Q1 2018, with a rate of 2.2%, while Doncaster, Wakefield and Hull all followed closely behind with growth of 2.1%.

The GVA growth rate for Leeds stood at 2%, but there was even better news for the city in terms of employment. Its workforce growth of 2.3% across the same period was the highest recorded in the UK, according to Irwin Mitchell and Cebr’s report.

Looking to the future, Leeds is expected to continue to enjoy some of the strongest employment growth in the UK by both Q4 2018 and Q4 2028, but the outlook for Doncaster and Wakefield is less positive. Both experienced slow employment growth in Q1 2018 and it is expected to fall even further by Q4 2018 and Q4 2028.

GVA growth in Yorkshire is set to drop off in the long term, with none of the region’s cities set to feature in the top 15 by the end of 2028.

Paddy Sturman, partner and head of business legal services at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds, said: “The current situation in Yorkshire looks fairly rosy and in the short term this is expected to continue.”

“Leeds has performed particularly strongly for employment growth and this is set to continue until the end of the year. Financial and business services account for 38% of total output in Leeds and so will be behind a large proportion of the employment growth, while the city has a large manufacturing sector that employs over 30,000 people.”

Sturman added: “According to our UK Powerhouse study, there are no Yorkshire towns and cities in the top 10 for GVA by the end of 2028. The fact that Northern cities are continuing to fall behind their southern counterparts highlights that much more need for more to be done to ensure Leeds and the wider Northern Powerhouse region can realise its true potential.”