The combination of the Northern Powerhouse Initiative, modern transport connections, digital infrastructure and respected universities has helped Manchester to regain its crown as one of the UK’s most significant economic hotspots. While its economic growth has slowed in the early months of 2019, indications are that Manchester will lead the way for economic growth in the UK post-Brexit.
A balanced economy helps fuelled job creation
Manchester’s history is strongly linked to the manufacturing industry and this is still very much a feature of the local economy, in fact, it has grown over the last three years, however, it is no longer the “be-all-and-end-all” of Manchester’s economy. The service sector has also been growing and, crucially, it has been growing in a diversified manner, which means that the strength of the administrative support and business services, transportation & storage sectors is offsetting the sluggishness of the retail sector. It’s also worth noting that Manchester has a healthy mix of private and public-sector jobs (and if you include Salford it also has a major BBC production centre).
Affordability and infrastructure attracts businesses
Up until relatively recently, the cost of doing business in London could, at least in part, be justified by the fact that it was indisputably the UK’s main transport hub, which meant that if you needed to travel outside the UK (or have people come to meet you at your place of business), then the chances were you would be flying from London (or arriving in London).
While it’s true that London does still have the convenience of the Eurostar, that is one, single, transport service which serves a very limited number of destinations, which can all be reached conveniently by air from Manchester. In fact, these days, a growing number of key business destinations can all be reached quickly and conveniently from Manchester by road, rail or air and the arrival of HS2 will improve matters even further. Of course, these days, (probably to the relief of many), the need for business travel has been vastly reduced by the wonders of broadband internet, which is one of the many reasons that businesses appreciate the fact that Manchester has great digital infrastructure.
Population growth continues, fuelled by millennial incomers and “stayers”
These days increasing numbers of graduates from Manchester’s universities are choosing to start their careers in their adopted city. In addition, many young people choose to return to Manchester after completing their studies elsewhere and record numbers of people, especially millenials, are moving from London to Manchester in search of a high quality of life at a more affordable price. This talent pool obviously provides a further draw for businesses. It also provides a draw for property investors since many of these young adults prefer to rent until they are ready to start a family (the average age of a first-time buyer, outside London, is now 31) and so there is continual, high demand, for rental property. As an added bonus, house-prices are significantly lower and yields significantly higher than in the Thames Valley area.
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