Warwickshire has one of the fastest growing economies in the country – and the fastest-growing of all local authorities of comparable size, new figures have revealed.
The county’s productivity in terms of output per worker has risen by 19.6% since 2009, outperforming national and regional averages.
Furthermore, over the past four years, Warwickshire’s growth in productivity capacity is exceeded by only three other local authorities in the UK, all much smaller economic areas.
The figures, released by the Office of National Statistics, show that Warwickshire is firmly establishing itself as a principal driver of labour productivity growth and leading the way in reducing the productivity gap in the region.
The sustained growth further strengthens Warwickshire’s reputation as a great place to base a business. That reputation is attracting companies from around the UK and beyond with BARO Vehicles (Argentina), Ubisoft games studio (France) and EDAG Engineering (Germany) among those to have recently arrived in the county.
The strong productivity performance in Warwickshire has also helped drive growth for the wider Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area. Since 2009, only two other LEP areas in the country have outperformed the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP in terms of levels of productivity and rate of growth.
The growth in productivity is linked to a number of factors including an increase in new businesses and a reduction in business failures, both areas targeted by Warwickshire County Council’s business support programmes.
Another factor is the improved skills of young people in the county, with a significant reduction in the number of 16-24-year-olds who have no qualifications.
Again, this area is a high priority for the council which focuses on skills and apprenticeships, building links between business and schools and reducing the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).
These are key priority areas proactively targeted by Warwickshire County Council through inward investment, business support and access to finance initiatives.
The productivity growth is also driven by other factors including transport links, apprenticeship schemes and business innovation. Warwickshire is at the forefront of innovation in the IT and computing sectors as well as the automotive industry, but the growth is general. Since 2012, all industries in the county have grown on average by 13.8%, higher than the West Midlands (10.9%) and the UK (11.4%).
The manufacturing sector, for which the county is renowned, has seen a 37.5% increase in output, more than three times the growth-rate across the UK.