Tourism and Take That lifts city’s economy

THE Manchester economy has been boosted by tourism, travel and inward investment, according to a study.

Despite a tough national backdrop, falling house prices and increasing long-term unemployment in Greater Manchester, there are several reason to be cheerful according to the Manchester Monitor.

The Monitor, which provides an analytical snapshot of the economic health of the area and is produced by the economic development body New Economy,  shows that long-term unemployment in Greater Manchester has continued to grow and that, despite an increase of job vacancies between May and June 2011, vacancies have declined on an annual basis.

In housing, the Monitor reports an average property price of just over £107,000 in June, with property 4.3% cheaper than in June 2010.  However, sales currently stand at one-third of their peak levels and the cost of a typical property remains too high when compared to average salaries.
Good news comes from the hotel occupancy levels monitored by Visit Manchester, which reveal an average occupancy in June of 87% during weekends and 81% for the weekdays.

It is thought the boost is due to a number of major events taking place in the city, including Take That at the City of Manchester Stadium, Glee at the MEN Arena and the Manchester Day Parade.  

Manchester Airport’s passenger statistics also offer cause for optimism, showing a year-on-year increase of 10% in May 2011, bringing passenger numbers up to 1.74 million. 

Forecasts provided by the airport show the numbers should increase into June, with levels expected to hit 1.9 million.
Available office space has increased in the second quarter of 2011 to approximately 3.4 million sq ft. whilst office take-up increased to 175,000 sq ft. Aegis, the global outsourcing provider, moves into City Tower in Manchester city centre later in 2011 – a move that is expected to create up to 600 new jobs.
Baron Frankal, director of economic strategy at New Economy said: “There is no doubt the economic context is gloomy.

“However, this month’s Monitor has an unusual number of bright signs, giving a little more credence to our analysis that Greater Manchester has the right fundamentals to buck the trend and generate real economic growth going forward.”