Leeds likely to enjoy fastest growth in jobs

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The Independent Online
LEEDS is to be the fastest growing employment centre in the 1990s with nearly a 10 per cent rise in the numbers in work.

The pace of growth will outstrip the southern boom towns of the 1980s with most of the increase associated with the service industries. More than 25,000 jobs are expected to be created, according to a prediction yesterday by a leading economic forecaster.

Other cities seeing substantial rises in employment will be Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham but both Glasgow and Edinburgh will lose up to 10,000 jobs by 2002.

The predictions by Bridget Rosewell, managing director of Business Strategies and a former senior economist at the CBI, follow studies of local economies and labour markets.

She said large investments such as the transfer of more than 2,500 Social Security jobs to Leeds and relocations of financial service companies in Bristol would stimulate the service economy and deliver more jobs.

'Edinburgh and Glasgow have not been affected by the downturn to the same extent as the south- east of England so the potential for recovery is also not there,' she added at a recruitment industry training conference in London.

Brian Walker, chair of development services on Leeds City Council, said the city had succeeded in attracting incoming investment. 'Even in the recession we have had people showing interest in relocating,' he said.

Besides the absolute growth in numbers, Ms Rosewell also predicted a continued shift away from manufacturing and the resumption of the rise in employment in finance and business services.

Such a trend will take place in all areas, including London. The capital is in the middle of a cycle of decline in financial employment expected to last until 1994 before employment begins to rise.

London's financial sector overshadows those of all other regional economies with employment peaking at 800,000 in 1990 before falling to 700,000 in 1994. The high cost of offices in the capital led to gains in employment in the rest of the South-east during the 1980s, but these are not likely to continue with plummeting London office rents.

Total London employment will gradually begin to rise at the end of the recession from a low of about 3.1 million jobs.

The shift to services will be fastest in Manchester and Glasgow, mainly as both have relatively small finance sectors compared with Edinburgh and Bristol.