The latest figures on the local economy show that Calderdale is taking big steps in the right direction, with key indicators showing strong progress compared to regional and national averages.
A recent report to Calderdale Council’s Economy and Investment Panel looked at key trends in the borough’s economy, covering areas such as unemployment, skills and business.
The headline results - the statistics are based on official data releases from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) - are very promising, believes the council, showing:
l Calderdale’s employment rate has increased by 7.5 per cent since 2010 to 75.7 per cent, which is above the regional and national averages.
l Unemployment continues to fall and is currently 5.9 per cent, which is significantly lower than the Yorkshire and Humber average.
l At 9.5 per cent, Calderdale has a lower proportion of residents with no qualifications than the regional average, and is in line with the national figure.
l Calderdale people are becoming higher skilled, with 33 per cent of working age people having degree level qualifications – an increase of more than six per cent over the past 10 years, and a higher proportion than other nearby areas.
This is promising for future employment rates and economic growth. To make further progress it is essential to encourage these people to both live and work in Calderdale, and this partly depends on the availability of more higher-paid jobs, says the report.
The annual earnings of people working in Calderdale have increased by 48 per cent in the past 15 years to an average of £24,905, and are above Yorkshire and Humber levels.
This is a clear sign that more highly-paid jobs are being created, showing that local businesses are investing and becoming more competitive. They are selling more in world markets, meaning they need more qualified employees, the report states.
Coun Barry Collins, Cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “Calderdale is making excellent economic progress, with employment and skill levels at an all-time high.
“The council has been working hard to support and invest in local businesses to ensure a strong economy since the recession hit. This has turned into a real success. But we are not complacent. We’re constantly looking at what we can do, alongside others, to help improve prospects for residents and businesses.”
Deputy leader of the Conservative group on Calderdale Council, Coun Scott Benton, said national trends have been replicated in Calderdale’s economy as the people of Calderdale continue to provide the vital skills that businesses are looking for.
“It’s not just employment that is on the up in Calderdale but so are average earnings by 48 per cent, showing that Calderdale is not just producing jobs, but high-quality jobs.
“The people of Calderdale are benefitting from the hard economic decisions taken by the Chancellor and this Conservative Government,” said Coun Benton.