Stoke-on-Trent will become home to one of the fastest rates of employment growth by the end of 2022, according to a new report.
The UK Powerhouse study, released by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), analyses 50 of the largest local economies by employment and GVA (gross added value) growth.
And the latest report has revealed that Stoke-on-Trent is predicted to see employment levels grow the sixth fastest over the next 12 months, increasing year-on-year by 2.2 per cent to 130,500.
It means jobs growth in the Potteries is expected to be higher than 44 other major UK locations including Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh.
At the same time, Stoke-on-Trent’s GVA – the value of the goods and services produced in the city – is expected to have increased by 2.9 per cent by the end of 2022 – ahead of Derby, Birmingham and Portsmouth.
Hannah Clipston, partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The UK’s economy has undergone significant change over the last two years and this report highlights that the recovery is unlikely to be linear or even uniform.
“Over the next 12 months our report predicts that manufacturing’s output will grow by 3.5 per cent whilst for hospitality it will grow by 35 per cent. This has a huge impact on the variations that we are seeing in terms of growth in different locations and should be considered by the government as it looks to level up and tackle disparities in economic growth.”
Alun Rogers, chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, has welcomed the report’s findings.
He said: “It’s fantastic, but not altogether surprising, to see Stoke-on-Trent forecasted to have one of the fastest rates of employment growth by the end of next year.
“It is real testament to the resilience and ambition of our region’s diverse business community, as well as the hard work of city leaders whose efforts have been firmly focused on recovering and ‘powering-up’ the local economy as we look ahead beyond the pandemic.”
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The Powerhouse report outlines that the UK’s GVA growth was largely driven by the construction and services sectors in 2021 – particularly the accommodation and food services industries. Education also saw strong growth as schools reopened.
And while the outlook for 2022 looks generally bright, the study found that businesses across the UK are still facing a number of challenges including staff shortages, supply chain issues and Brexit.
Alun said: “Over the past 18 months and more, the LEP and our Growth Hub have invested in local businesses to tackle the challenges of the pandemic and come back stronger.
“As a business-led organisation, we understand the challenges and opportunities that businesses are presented with on a daily basis including staff shortages, supply chain issues and rising energy costs – which are highlighted in the latest UK Powerhouse report.”
He added: “Importantly, the report highlights the need for businesses to invest in skills, technology and innovation to maintain their resilience in the future. This is something the LEP and our Growth Hub are delivering at a local level and we look forward to working with more businesses to ensure Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire continue on their growth trajectory.”