(1) The Centre for Cities published its Cities Outlook 2014 on Monday

Friday 31st of January 2014 12:00 AM

Strongly pro-city, as you would expect, the report states that UK cities produce 15% more output for every worker than non-city areas, whilst producing 32% fewer carbon dioxide emissions.  To maximise the contribution that cities make to UK economic prosperity, the report argues that cities should be given greater control over decisions affecting their economy and greater freedoms for cities to tax, borrow and invest, plus greater freedom to tailor national policies to address city-specific challenges.

As the UK emerges from recession performance across the country has been quite varied.  Cities such as London, Edinburgh and Brighton have been leading the recovery whilst other places (for example Blackpool, Glasgow and Northampton) are still suffering the impacts of the recession.

How does Coventry fare?  The Centre for Cities compare the UK's 64 largest cities on a range of measures including population, housing, earnings, business dynamics, innovation, employment, skills and digital connectivity.  On many of these measures Coventry typically falls somewhere in the middle.  The areas in which the city performs particularly well, or badly, are summarised below.

On the plus side, Coventry had the:

  • 4th highest annual mean house price growth rate between 2012 and 2013 at 5.5% (though it was still ranked 41st out of 64 cities on the level of mean house prices in 2013);
  • 6th best rate of growth in real earnings between 2012 and 2013 (though it was still ranked 28th on the level of average weekly earnings in 2013); and
  • 7th highest improvement in reported life satisfaction between 2011/12 and 2012/13 (although the level of reported life satisfaction in 2012/13 still only placed it 38th out of 64 cities - it had been 61st the previous year).  Overall, the data on reported life satisfaction varies little between cities however.

On the minus side, Coventry is the:

  • 7th worst performer in terms of its employment rate (64.1% for the period July '12 - June '13, compared with a UK average of 71.0%); and the
  • 9th worst performer on the % of the working age population with no formal qualifications (15.2% in 2012 compared with a UK average of 9.9%).

Coventry’s employment rate is similar to (in fact slightly better than) other former industrial cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool.  In addition, the city’s performance as measured by the qualification levels of its workforce is expected to improve over time as older (but more experienced) workers retire and are replaced by more highly qualified younger workers.  The challenge is to ensure that workforce skills meet the needs of employers.

You can download a copy of the full report or look at the city by city data on the Centre for Cities website: http://www.centreforcities.org/research/outlook14.html

Coventry City Council Press Release:

A new report out this week showed how Coventry ranked among 64 cities across the UK in a number of areas – and the Corporate Research Team has the facts to go behind the figures.

The centreforcities report titled ‘The Cities Outlook 2014’ looked at 64 cities and compared them in a number of areas, including: house price increases, wellbeing, digital connectivity, environment, unemployment, average earnings and many others.

Positive findings for Coventry included a good ranking in the field of innovation and ranking well in the list of green cities  – see Beacon for full details.

But the city fared badly on the Employment Rate section – coming 58th of the 64 cities; and on the level of the working age population with no formal qualifications, when it came 56th in the list, with 15.2 per cent of the working population having no qualifications.

But the Corporate Research Team said the figures do not tell the whole story and need to be put into context.

The employment rate is calculated using a sample survey of all residents aged 16-64 – including full-time students. Residents are divided into groups according to economic status; those who are economically active – employed or unemployed people; and those who are economically inactive. In Coventry 70% of working age residents are economically active (UK 77%), and 30% are inactive (UK 23%).

Coventry has a lower activity rate as the city has a high student population and a lower activity rate means there will be a lower employment rate. About 37,000 students live in Coventry, many more than in most cities – this makes our employment levels appear low when ranked against cities with lower student populations. If full-time students were discounted from this measurement then Coventry’s employment rate would rank nearer the middle of the list of cities.

Regarding the number of residents who have no formal qualifications; this is estimated using the same survey. It should be noted that a high number of Coventry residents who have no formal qualifications are aged 50 and over - perhaps reflective of the city’s industrial history. The statistic quoted in Cities Outlook 2014 does not mean that the young people of Coventry are leaving education less qualified than young people in other cities. If the report were to look at qualifications of under 50s Coventry would again be nearer the middle of the UK city list.

To see the full report, visit www.centreforcities.org

And if you want to read more economic statistics and analysis on Coventry’s economy, see the latest Key Economic Information on www.facts–about-coventry.com, sign up to an e-bulletin from the Research team or view headline statistics at www.coventry.gov.uk/headlinestats

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