The State of Britain

The YH economy grew by 1.2% in 2018, the Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham economy the fastest growing in the region but North East Lincolnshire declines, the growth in YH house prices a UK outlier

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Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September, the ONS has now published its 2018 full year estimate of economic activity by UK country, region and local area using gross domestic product.

The figures showed the YH economy grew by 1.2% in 2018, down from the 2017 growth rate of 2.2%. This placed YH sixth (2017 ranking fifth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions.’

The UK and England growth rate in 2018 was 1.4%. Growth in Wales was 1.3%, Scotland grew by 0.9% and the Northern Ireland economy shrank by 0.5%.

London topped the 2018 table with growth of 2.0% whilst Northern Ireland was at the bottom.

Within the region, the Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham economy grew the fastest at 4.6%, followed by Leeds at 4.5% and York at 3.9%. Across the UK, the highest annual growth of sub national areas was in Falkirk at 10.5%.

Five areas of the region saw their GDP decline in 2018. The worst performer was North and North East Lincolnshire at -3.2% followed by Bradford at -2.2% and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire at -0.6%. In UK terms, the lowest annual growth of sub national areas was in Mid and East Antrim at -10.1%.

GDP per head growth of 3.9% to £36,500 was seen in Leeds. GDP per head fell by 3.5% in North and North East Lincolnshire to £30,320 but despite growing by 4.0%, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham posted the lowest GDP per head in the region at £20,326.

In terms of UK extremes, GDP per head was £395,309 in Camden and the City of London and £15,034 in Ards and North Down. These figures are a guide and are influenced by commuter flows.

In 2018, key drivers of the YH economy were information/communication and arts/entertainment both at 6% and water supply and services at 4%. Those areas that did not perform well were agriculture down by 6%, public administration/defence fell by 4% and construction also declined by 1%. Overall the services sector grew by 1.7% and production by 0.3%.

The 2018 performance of the region’s enterprise partnerships was also highlighted by the ONS. Of the UK’s 45 development bodies, Sheffield City Region was ranked 4th in the UK (2017 ranking 18th) with growth of 2.3%, with Leeds City Region moving up the rankings most from 22nd to 5th with growth of 2.2%. The region’s three other LEPs all slipped down the rankings. York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP slipped from 5th in 2017 to 19th in 2018, Greater Lincolnshire fell from 15th to 37th, but the worst performer was the Humber which dropped from 12th to 38th as the economy declined by 0.4% compared with growth of 3.2% in 2017.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in YH fell by 6,000 to 110,000 between August and October 2019; the decrease of 0.2% took the overall rate to 4.1%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate at 2.3% with the UK rate at 3.8%. The highest rate was 6.1% which was recorded in the North East.

The South West had the highest employment rate at 80.8% which compared with 73.8% in YH. UK employment was estimated at 76.2%.

The only part of England where average property prices grew was in YH, by 0.9% during October 2019 to £166,904, which took annual growth to an England best of 3.2%. In comparison, UK prices fell by 0.7% to £232,944, an annual growth rate of 0.7%.