The wealthiest area of the WM was the Priorslee area of Telford, the poorest was the Aston University area of Birmingham, and Coventry and Warwickshire LEP has the best productivity growth in the UK

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The ONS has published average household disposal income estimates for England and Wales in 2018. The incomes stated are after tax and housing costs are taken off. 

The analysis shows that 87% of local areas had an average household income of between £22,500 and £39,200; within this over a third were between £28,000 and £33,600.

Of the 50 areas with the highest total incomes, 41 were in London with the lowest incomes more widely spread geographically across England and Wales. The North East, East England, London, and the South East had no local areas in the bottom 50.

The wealthiest area in England and Wales was Mickleover in Derby, with incomes of £52,200 and the poorest was Highfield North in Leicester with £12,500. The two areas are 30 miles from each other and ranked 7200 places apart.

The wealthiest area of the WM was the Priorslee area of Telford at £39.500. This ranked the area 205th out of the 7,201 areas recorded. The poorest area of the region was the Aston University area of Birmingham with £12,900. This area was ranked 7,200 out of the 7,201 areas of recorded, the second poorest in England and Wales.

Like most regions of the UK, output per hour in the WM is below the UK average. Productivity per hour in the region was 10.4% below the UK average which ranked the region seventh nationally for 2018. One reason for this is the high levels of hours worked and high productivity in London and South East which pulls up the UK average so much that all other regions fall below it.

The ONS has now released data for a longer period and at a subregional level. This gives further insight into the WM’s performance.

Perhaps the most useful indicator is the 2018 results for the 44 enterprise regions in the UK which comprise the 38 English local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and six enterprise regions in Scotland, Wales and the border regions.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP had the best productivity (in terms of hours and jobs) in 2018 at 35% above the UK average whereas the Black Country LEP at 24% below was the worst.

At 4% above, the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP was one of eight economic regions which beat the UK average and was ranked 7th, all of the WM’s other LEPs recorded productivity below the UK average.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull was 16th at 5% below, the rest all performed poorly and ranged from 19% to 24% below the UK average. Worcestershire, Stoke on Trent/Staffordshire and the Marches were ranked 38th, 39th and 40th. As mentioned above, the Black Country LEP at 24% below was ranked 44th, the worst in the UK.

In terms of productivity growth, however, between 2010 and 2018 the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP was top with growth of 16%. Twelve economic regions recorded productivity levels lower in 2018 than 2010. The worst performer was the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP which saw productivity drop by 11%.

The WM’s results for productivity growth were better.

As mentioned above, with growth of 16% the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP was the best in the UK. The Black Country LEP was ranked 7th nationally with growth of 6%, beating the Marches which was ranked 13th with 4% growth.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull was 20th at 3%, Worcestershire 25th at 2% with Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire at 0%, meaning that none of the region’s LEPs recorded productivity levels lower in 2018 than 2010.

Despite this, all of the WM’s three subregions recorded productivity below the UK average. The West Midlands -7%, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire -8% and Shropshire and Staffordshire and the West Midlands -18%.

At a county level, with the exception of Solihull (+39%) and Warwickshire (+7%) all of the WM’s districts recorded productivity below the UK average. Herefordshire had the lowest productivity, 33% below the UK average.

The growth in hours worked between 2010 and 2018 in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire was 16%, beating Shropshire and Staffordshire and the West Midlands which each recorded 12%. In UK terms this level of growth was in the top fifteen of the country’s 40 subregions.

If the increase in economic output is also factored in, then the sub regional performances are also good, mirroring the region’s LEPs. Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire was ranked 3rd in the UK with growth of 11%, the West Midlands was placed 6th with 9% and Shropshire and Staffordshire 22nd with 2%. 

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 1,000 higher at 133,000 between November and January; the slight uplift left the overall rate unchanged at 4.5%, the third highest in the UK. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.4%; the North East was the highest with 6.2%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 80% which compared with 75.2% in the WM where 2.8m are employed; the UK rate was 76.5%.

The WM’s average property price increased by 0.4% to £200.628, which took the annual increase to 2.6%, the second highest in the UK. In comparison, UK prices decreased by 1.1% to £231,185 during January, an annual growth rate of 1.3%.

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