East Midlands

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The East Midlands has plenty of reasons to remain optimistic about its future prospects, with the fastest growing economy in the UK outside of London and the South East.

Key insights

The region has shown good signs of entrepreneurialism in recent years, with the number of businesses growing by 19% since 2010 to 207,405, only slightly lower than the UK average.

Current underlying economic conditions, including the depressed pound, have played into the hands of East Midlands manufacturers, who are enjoying an uplift in export orders as their products have become more affordable overseas.

East Midlands Infograph

That’s helping to drive manufacturers’ growing investment and recruitment plans too.

The number of businesses operating in the construction industry saw relatively slow growth historically, increasing by just 10% between 2010 and 2017, compared with a 16% growth across the UK.

Today the industry continues to face some well-reported headwinds across the country, particularly in the commercial sector, as economic uncertainty has caused industrial building projects to be put on hold, and builders in the East Midlands have not been immune to that.

In recent years, the East Midlands’ economy has become far more diverse, with growing strengths in the life sciences, as well as the financial and related professional services.

Its vibrant city economies – including Northampton, Nottingham and Leicester – have benefitted from a strong pipeline of talent from the region’s universities, of which there are two in Nottingham.

What does the future hold?

Little growth in construction output has been forecast in the region until 2021, which will likely prove challenging for some businesses in the region.

However, HS2 provides an opportunity to improve the East Midlands’ connectivity, building better links to the West Midlands, the north, Scotland, London and the South East. It’s expected that this will open the region up to new markets and improve its access to labour.

And the government’s Midlands Engine Strategy, announced earlier this year, will see almost £400 million invested, including training to give workers new skills and a £250m fund to support SMEs’ growth plans.

For further information on the sourced references for the Business Trends data, outside of the Business Population Estimates 2016 and Nomis official labour market statistics 2010 and 2017, please download the information here (PDF, 240MB)