at the same rate as the UK at 3.6 per cent and is at an eight-year high
reaching £99bn…GVA per hour, the best way to measure productivity,
is increasing at 3.1 per cent, significantly above the UK at 2.5 per cent.
This economic growth is matched by growth in the number of active
enterprises at 3.6 per cent, again above the UK at 3.3 per cent. Those
enterprises are creating record numbers of jobs with a growth rate of
3.1 per cent – three times the England rate... The number of people
with NVQ Level 4+ qualifications has increased by 3.3 per cent over
the year compared to a UK increase of 2.3 per cent. There were similar
positive results for those with ‘No Qualifications’, falling by 2.5 per cent
compared to the UK average change of +0.2 per cent.”
At the same time, the report is realistic about the challenges that still
face the region, commenting: “Manufacturing looks most vulnerable to
the impacts of Brexit, and the West Midlands is particularly exposed.
Although headline productivity is moving in the right direction, it
still lags behind the rest of the UK, as does the proportion of WMCA
residents with qualifications and their healthy life expectancy. Youth
unemployment is still stubbornly high. Without effective investment
in productivity and skills, the region risks losing the ability to attract
future investment and there continues to be disparity in employment
levels by gender and ethnicity. We know there is still a long way to go
to meet our ambitions. Too many people remain left behind, unable to
access, shape or feel the full benefits of sustained economic growth.”
WMCA point to number of particular highlights of the past four
years for the region. Aside from the successful 2022 Commonwealth
Games bid, the WMCA is taking action across a number of areas to
support happier, healthier, better connected and more prosperous
communities, and to ensure the benefits of High Speed 2 are
maximized for the region. The CA’s Review of 2018-19 highlighted the
l The number of jobs has increased to 1.9m +3.1 per cent (+56,000)
compared to +1.3 per cent for England (2016/17).
l Developed the West Midlands Industrial Strategy.