Reading; a strong economy with the ingredients to bounce back

CitiesOUtlookReading is firmly in the ‘Strong Economies’ category, where COVID has not had the kind of impact on health or the local economy that has been seen in other places and with all the right ingredients in place for a rapid bounce back, according to the 2021 Cities Outlook Monitor, produced by Centre for Cities.

The annual health of city economies report assesses the impact of COVID and looks at indicators that will predict the future health and ability to bounce back of the 63 UK city economies.

The Reading economy (defined as Reading/Wokingham) by Centre for Cities rates Reading as a strong economy for start-up businesses, business stock, GDP per worker, services exports per job, unemployment claimant count/employment rate, wages, education attainment and skills. Reading was ranked first for private knowledge intensive business services.

Nigel Horton Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK, said: “COVID has taken its toll on people's lives in Reading as it has across the UK and the resulting economic restrictions continue to affect the ability of businesses to operate normally. However, as one of the powerhouse economies of the UK Reading has demonstrated a remarkable track record of resilience in times of economic crisis in the past. Over the last 10 months, it has withstood the impact of COVID better than most other UK economies.

“A combination of market confidence, leadership and investment in skills and training in growth sectors will be vital to underpin a quick bounce back, once COVID restrictions are relaxed. The Powered by People Economic Recovery Strategy, published by Reading UK in November 2020 in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, prioritises support for local people through new digital and green economy skills along with sustainable infrastructure investment.

“Signs of recovery can already be seen. During the pandemic, Reading has received a huge vote of confidence from investors and businesses choosing to relocate to the defacto city. However, we need to ensure that the market-driven recovery doesn’t leave people behind and that the future of Reading is both inclusive and sustainable.”

Reading city data 2021

  • Start up businesses (per 10,000 population) – 66.24 – 9 / 63
  • Business stock (per 10,000 population) – 550.32 – 4/ 63
  • GDP per worker - £83,801 – (£16,000 more than national average) – 5/63
  • Services exports per job - £16,590 – 4/63
  • Mean house value - £399, 604 (6/63)
  • Private knowledge intensive business services – 25.27% (% of total jobs/high skill requirement) - 1/63
  • Claimant count (% Nov 2020) - 4.92% - 58/63, ie 6th lowest claimant count
  • Employment rate - 79.7% - 6/63
  • Average wage (weekly) - £623.67 - £100 high than national average – 4/63
  • GCSE achievements – 8/55
  • Working age population with NVQ4 or above qualification (degree level or above) – 51% - 7/63

More detail at


Web design by Tribal Systems