Stoke-on-Trent’s economy is set to be the second fastest growing in terms of job creation when the UK emerges from recession, a new study has found.
The report by law firm Irwin Mitchell, which estimates that the UK entered into a recession in the second half of 2022, expects economic growth to resume in the second half of 2023.
According to the research, Stoke-on-Trent’s employment level is expected to increase by 2.1 per cent in the final three months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. The study says that employment levels at the end of 2022 stood at 137,500 and by the end of 2023 this figure will be 140,400.
That puts the city just behind Cambridge (with a 2.5 per cent increase) in second place and ahead of inner London (2 per cent) and Liverpool (1.7 per cent).
The Irwin Mitchell City Tracker has been produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and examines 50 locations across the UK, forecasting future growth in terms of GVA and employment.
In addition to the strong performance with employment, growth of GVA by the end of next year in Stoke is expected to be 0.7 per cent which will take the size of the economy to £6.5bn. This is slightly below the 1.1 per cent growth expected to be seen in Birmingham but higher than all the other cities in the Midlands covered by the report.
The report says Stoke-on-Trent has been successful at attracting investment from the Government’s Levelling Up fund, which will fund major regeneration projects across the city.
Furthermore, there are plans for a Home Office innovation centre in the city, which will accommodate more than 500 staff by 2025, and the creation of a new Institute of Technology within the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP area.
Josie Dent, managing economist at Cebr, said: ”2023 will be a difficult year for consumers and businesses across Stoke-on-Trent, with the cost-of-living crisis expected to lead to falling economic activity. However, Cebr forecasts that economic growth will resume in the second half of 2023, with most cities expected to see an annual expansion in GVA by Q4 2023.”
Charlotte Rees-John, partner and head of Irwin Mitchell’s consumer sector, said: “Last year presented numerous challenges and the downward pressure on spending activity, which continues to be concentrated in the consumer sector, looks set to continue throughout the first half of 2023.
“The consumer sector has however been one of the most resilient, agile and innovative sectors in recent times and those businesses that succeed during 2023 will be in a very strong position to take advantage of a more stable economic environment in 2024.”
Charlotte added: “Considering longer-term aspirations, such as the transition to carbon net zero, is something all businesses, irrespective of the sector they are in and the pressures that they are facing, need to do. ESG is fast becoming a priority for the majority, particularly at a time when there is huge pressure and scrutiny from consumers and investors who are increasingly making their decisions based on ethical as well as financial factors.”