With GDP falling by 6%, the severity of the downturn over the last six quarters means that the after-effects will be long-lasting. Not only has unemployment risen sharply to nearly 8%, many of the sectors worst affected are those that have been the cornerstone of many cities’ economies – retail, financial services, and construction. As the UK starts to emerge from the deepest recession in decades the latest Cities Outlook finds that recovery will be uneven.
Despite the recession, cities remain the backbone of the UK’s economy. Major cities in particular have the potential to reinforce their position, and generate jobs and growth as the global economy recovers.
London and the four largest city regions – Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester – accounted for 36% of the population in 2008, but 39% of 2008 jobs in England. Thirty-seven percent of GB knowledge-intensive businesses were clustered in London and just three major cities, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol in 2008
Already-robust city economies like Brighton are more likely to grow stronger, leaving others like Doncaster further behind. This raises tough questions about how they can carve out a future that's economically sustainable.
Five big hitters: The turnaround of our largest cities will be critical to the national recovery. More than one in three jobs (39%) in England is based in just five cities - Greater London and the City Regions of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool.
Five to watch: Brighton, Milton Keynes, Reading, Cambridge and Edinburgh have the right ingredients to succeed after the recession has passed. They have strong private sectors, high levels of entrepreneurship, highly educated workforces and large shares of knowledge-intensive jobs.
Click here to read the full report