Regional growth mixed across the UK

Regional growth mixed across the UK

NatWest Regional Economic Tracker shows UK unemployment has fallen much faster than expected but not everyone has had the same experience, with some regions doing better than others.

Economic Analysis

15 April 2016

The NatWest Regional Economic Tracker highlights how the job markets of different regions have performed.


Recent GDP growth hasn’t been especially good, but growth in the number of jobs has.  Unemployment at the UK level has fallen much faster than expected, particularly since 2013.  But not everyone has had the same experience, some regions have done much better than others.  The NatWest Regional Economic Tracker highlights how the job markets of different regions have performed and shows how the factors and trends affecting the national economy are working at a local level.

Click on your region below to find out more.

Yorkshire & the Humber – the fastest region for job growth in the UK

  • A stunning 3.8% rise in employment in the year to Q3 2015 rocketed Yorkshire & the Humber to the top of the leader board of the NatWest Regional Economic Tracker as the fastest region for job growth.
  • That growth means that there are 4.4% more people in employment today than there were in 2008. A rise of over 100,000.
  • Younger age groups in particular have benefited from this growth spurt with employment of 16-24 year olds rising 9.2% in the last 12 months, the fastest rate in the UK. But this didn’t come at the expense of other age groups.  There are 75% more over 65s working now than there were in 2008, the second biggest rise in the country.

East of England – best recovery in job market outside London

  • The East of England saw job growth pick up to 1.7% in the year to Q3 2015, a very respectable pace and the fastest in over 2 years.
  • That means there’s now 6% more jobs in the region than during the previous peak in 2008, the best recovery anywhere outside London.
  • Recent job growth has been particularly strong amongst younger age groups with employment of 16-24 year olds rising 4.3% in the last year.  But even that growth still leaves youth employment 1% below where it was in 2

East Midlands – employment of 65+ doubled since 2008

  • Job growth in the East Midlands has cooled to 1.2% recently after a very strong period in 2014 when the region was registering growth of over 3%
  • That cooling has pushed the region down the rankings in terms of recent employment growth, but still means that there are 3% more jobs than there were in 2008.
  • The 12 months to Q3 2015 have seen a 25% rise in the number of people over 65 who are working, meaning there are now almost twice as many over 65s in work than there were in 2008, the biggest growth of any region.

London – created 1 in 3 of new UK jobs

  • London has held first place for job growth for most of the last 3 years, but its crown slipped in the last couple of quarters as employment growth edged lower to 2.2%, still comfortably above the national average.
  • That incredible run from late 2012 means there are a staggering 14% more jobs in London than there were in 2008. A rise of over half a million, meaning that 1 in 3 of the net increase in jobs has occurred in London.
  • Job growth amongst the youngest workers is strong at 8.2% in the last 12 months, but even so only now are there more jobs in the capital amongst 16-24 year olds than there were in 2008. London is the only region where that is the case

North East – good recent growth helps make up ground

  • The North East generated 2.2% employment growth in the 12 months to Q3 2015, faster than job growth at the national level and helping drive down unemployment.
  • This latest job surge takes job growth since 2008 to 1.7%, but that is still the lowest growth of all the English regions over the past 7 years.
  • The North East’s job market has been exemplifying the  trends that we see at a national level.  Employment amongst 16-24 year olds is positive but still below the levels we saw in 2008, whilst the number of over 65s in work has increased by more than 50%.

North West – podium position for recent job growth

  • The North West has been climbing the job growth leader board recently and now sits in 3rd place at 2.7% in the year to Q3 2015. That comfortably beats the UK wide figure of 1.9% and helps compensate for a relatively weak 2014.
  • Maintaining that recent momentum will help the North West add to the 107,000 increase in jobs that we’ve seen since 2008.
  • Employment growth of 4% amongst 16-24 year olds in the last 12 months is particularly welcome as the North West has seen jobs for the young rebound the least of all the English regions. There are still 7% fewer 16-24 year olds in work than there were in 2008.

South East – job recovery down to higher employment amongst the over 50s

  • Job growth in the South East has slipped recently to 1.2%, having spent much of the previous year growing faster than the UK average.
  • That strong long term performance means there are now 4.4% more jobs in the South East than there were in 2008.
  • That job growth since 2008 is more than accounted for by the rise in employment amongst 50-65 and 65+ age groups as fewer people retire early and many more continue working after the statutory retirement age.

South West – top 2 performance for the last 2 quarters

  • The South West took second spot for job growth amongst the UK regions in the last 12 months, clocking up growth of 3%. That’s just down from the 3.3% performance the previous quarter which was unsurpassed.
  • That recent strength promotes the South West into 3rd place for the overall pace of job growth since 2008, having seen a rise in employment of 4.6%.
  • The last 12 months saw employment expand amongst all age groups in the South West but it is the over 65s that have seen the biggest increase since 2008. There are over 70% more people working in this age group than there were in 2008.

Wales – job growth passes the 50,000 mark

  • Wales saw job growth of 1.4% in the 12 months to Q3 2015, a big turnaround from the fall seen only a couple of quarters earlier.
  • Wales’ economic recovery has meant there are over 50,000 more jobs than there were in 2008, a rise of 3.8%.
  • This rise has been particularly uneven across different age-groups however, with employment falling by 6.2% for the youngest and rising by 72% amongst the over 65s.

West Midlands – solid jobs growth, but not amongst the over 65s recently

  • Job growth reached 1.6% in the year to Q3 2015, the highest figure for the last 5 quarters in the West Midlands after a run of consistent expansion that is now 4 years old.
  • This means there are 3.8% more jobs in the West Midlands than there were in 2008.
  • The West Midlands is unusual in having seen employment amongst the over 65s actually fall over the last year, but growth of over 60% since 2008 suggests this is probably a blip rather than a decisive trend.

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