Reading retains status as leading UK city economy

The annual barometer of the economic performance of UK cities continues to rank Reading as one of the most dynamic for business growth, skills and wages in the country.

Cities Outlook 2016, produced by the think-tank Centre for Cities, ranks Reading 2nd in the UK for the economic contribution per worker (GVA¹), with an average contribution of £70,900 per person to the economy, 2nd for the number of businesses per capita and top 5 for average wages, skills and the dynamism of the business community.

The Cities Outlook report is the annual health-check of the economic performance of the United Kingdom’s 63 largest cities. The report defines Reading as the Greater Reading area² and includes statistics about the levels of innovation, levels of employment, earnings and skill levels in the workforce as well as housing provision and prices, population and the environment.

The report focuses on the 14 cities defined as “high wage / low welfare” economies with Reading ranking second only behind London. Centre for Cities point to this model as leading the way in terms of jobs growth, particularly in knowledge-intensive sectors which help to raise wages and boost jobs in other industries such as retail, leisure and hospitality. The report also flags up the pressures this creates on housing supply and affordability.

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK CIC, the economic development company for Reading, said: “The Centre for Cities report demonstrates the cumulative reasons that make Reading a powerhouse of the UK economy and such an attractive location for business and investment. Recruiting and retaining a talented workforce is absolutely key to today’s businesses and the fact that the Reading working population is nearly 50% degree educated will be hugely appealing to business.

“The challenges for Reading remain, however, in particular with regard to those with no formal qualifications who are not benefitting from the Reading economic success story and the affordability of housing, with house prices over 10 times the average salary in Reading.”

City Outlook data 2016 (Centre for Cities) – where Reading features in the top 10

 

 

Indicator

Ranking

Data

Productivity (GVA) per worker                              

2

£70,900

Business startups and closures (per 10,000 pop.)

 

4

71 startup) / 48 (closure)

Number of businesses (per 10,000 pop.)

2

441, increase of 3.5%

Unemployment rate

6

0.9% JSA claimant count

Private – public sector jobs ratio

8

134,900 vs 38,200

Skills

5

47.5% educated to NVQ4 or above ( degree level)

No formal qualifications

4

4.5% with no formal qualifications

Wages

4

£619 per week

Housing price growth

5

£343,000 average house price

Housing affordability

8

10.5 times average salary of £32,900

Employment rate

9

 

Other indicators in the report, in which Reading does not rank in the top 10 cities include:- number of patents (21/63), private sector job growth (17/62), housing stock (31/63), environment (39/63) and digital connectivity (29/58).

 More information on the 2016 report at www.centreforcities.org.

 ¹ GVA is Gross Value Added - a measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area.

 ² Reading area is defined as Reading and Wokingham.