Growth up as youth unemployment drops
Thursday, 20 June 2013
The latest economic data shows welcome signs that Hampshire's economy is picking up and youth unemployment is dropping.
After registering the highest level of business activity in this part of the South East at the end of last year, business activity in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has continued to expand this year. The latest data shows that in May growth in the region expanded for the fifth consecutive month and is increasing at its fastest pace for over a year. The volume of new business in the South East is increasing more rapidly than at any time since January 2012.
The number of young unemployed people (16-24 year olds) in Hampshire fell by 7.5% between April and May, which meant that the overall youth unemployment rate dropped from 3.2% to 2.9%.
Councillor Roy Perry, Executive Member for Policy and Resources and Leader of Hampshire County Council welcomed the positive direction the local economy is taking:
"The latest figures show the economy for Hampshire and the South East is growing, and at a good pace, which is excellent news for the county. The County Council and its partners have been working hard to build on Hampshire's economic strengths, bring investment into the county, encourage new business and drive regeneration. With our economy gaining momentum in the second quarter, and the private sector creating more jobs, it is likely that the job market will continue its positive trend at least over the short-term, which is great news, especially for younger workers. At Hampshire County Council we are helping young people get that first step on the employment ladder by expanding our apprenticeship scheme to employ up to 1,000 new apprentices over the next five years.
"To maintain this momentum and continue future sustainable growth, it is critical that Hampshire's businesses and entrepreneurs have access to the infrastructure and skills they need. 'Invest in Hampshire' is one of our initiatives which positions the county as a leading investment location and provides all the support that new businesses need to relocate to Hampshire and create local jobs. The proportion of businesses making capital investment in this part of the South East has remained broadly stable and marginally above the national average.
"At the same time we are forging stronger relationships with existing private sector companies and supporting key employers in Hampshire. Activities include assisting key companies in attracting new funding and providing economic intelligence to assist with their propositions to win new business and to support their expansion plans. We are making further resources available to develop our foremost growth sectors, including Aerospace, Business and Professional Services, and Marine.
"Regeneration is another vital element to our strategy and the recent investment plans for the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus are a good example of how local partners can collaborate to deliver new jobs and we are pleased to be investing £3million towards construction of the new training Centre of Excellence for Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Technology. We also regularly collaborate with the Hampshire Business Alliance and other local authority partners to support the county's start-up businesses and SMEs. Recent successful projects include the launch of the new Hampshire Business Directory and activities such as 'Meet the Buyer' events which develop local supply chains.
"We take full advantage of Hampshire's beautiful scenery, historic destinations and vibrant commercial centres. Tourism is worth almost £2.7bn to the Hampshire economy, employs 60,000 people and is predicted to increase by 3.5% year-on-year over the next decade. Our Visit Hampshire brand encourages both national and international tourists to visit the county. On the other hand directors and production companies have long used Hampshire's unique mix of scenic settings for their films. The Council's Film Hampshire provides location scouting for film crews and not only brings in substantial revenue - estimated to be almost £3 million in 2012 and £3.6 million in 2013 - but also acts as an additional draw for tourists who want to visit places they have seen in films."