Manchester to maintain strong jobs growth post-Brexit

Roy Beckett

Manchester is expected to be a top 10 city in terms of jobs growth in the first three months after the UK’s official leave date from the EU, according to a new report published today (November 12).

The UK Powerhouse study is produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and predicts that Manchester’s year-on-year employment growth in the second quarter of 2019 will be 1.5%, putting it in eighth place.

Liverpool is in 11th position in the league table with 1.4% growth in jobs, while Stockport is in 44th place with no increase expected.

Despite the relatively strong performance in terms of employment, Manchester’s annual GVA is forecast to fall from 2.3% in the second quarter of 2018 to 1.1% in Q2 2019.

The report said that Manchester is likely to emerge from Brexit in a strong position due to its diverse economy and ability to attract employment in the knowledge-intensive business services sector, acting as hubs for these business services in the area.

As well as this, the region is beginning to attract more firms in the digital tech sector.

The report also said that Liverpool is well-placed for the future and boasts an increasingly important factor of growth for the knowledge-intensive sector – graduate retention.

This stood at 83.4% in 2017 and provides a source of young workers to the labour force.

Looking at the region more broadly, the report adds that while the North West presents some important opportunities for long-term growth, much of this appears to be concentrated in the cities which are already well-established.

It says that this is in contrast to the towns and cities in Southern England where economic activity has seen expansion into other cities in the area, supported by growing transport links.

Roy Beckett, partner at the Manchester office of Irwin Mitchell, said: “These figures reveal that the departure from the EU will coincide with a slowdown in the level of economic growth in Manchester.

“However, the city is expected to outperform most other cities in the study from an employment point of view, boosted partly by its knowledge-intensive business services sector and the growth of our digital tech sector.”

He added: “There are a wide variety of issues that are created specifically by Brexit and the economic environment that it is expected to create.

“It is encouraging to see that businesses are getting themselves prepared for what is around the corner, both in terms of dealing with the challenges, but also the many opportunities that will develop.”