Data from the latest Edinburgh by Numbers publication, produced by the city council, has revealed that Edinburgh remains the most prosperous city in UK outside of London, boasting higher disposable income and lower unemployment rates than anywhere else.
Edinburgh’s unemployment rates have been lower than any other major city in the UK for the last ten calendar years, and the latest figures show joblessness in the city to be just 4.4 per cent. Even following the financial crash of 2008, joblessness peaked at 7.1 per cent which was much lower than any other city at the time.
But it’s not just battling unemployment that Edinburgh is succeeding in. The capital also has the highest number of highly skilled occupations when compared with any other UK city, including London, at over 40 per cent. It has a higher percentage of the working-age population in employment than the average level of major UK cities, with 72.8 per cent currently in work.
Even those not in employment tend to have advantageous reasons for being so, as the top two reasons for being economically inactive in Edinburgh are being a student (42 per cent) and being retired (15.3 per cent). This is opposed to other locations where unemployment is often due to being unable to find work despite wanting to be employed.
All this combines to give Scotland’s capital the highest average disposable income per resident, at £21,200. This is comfortably ahead of the next highest entry on the list, Bristol, which has an average disposable income of £17,900. There were a total of 324,000 jobs located in Edinburgh back in 2015 and this number is only continuing to grow. Almost 100,000 of these jobs were located in the city centre itself, and another 28,500 were based in Leith and Leith Walk.
What’s more, Gross Value Added (GVA), or value of goods and services, produced in Edinburgh was higher per head than in any other city outside of London.
It was good news for businesses in the report, too. Edinburgh came a close third for the survival rate of new businesses – with 42 per cent still ongoing after five years compared with 42.3 per cent in Bristol and 43.1 per cent in Sheffield. In fact, the findings reported 19,285 businesses registered in the city with over a thousand of them employing over 250 members of staff.
Health took the top spot when it came to finding the sector with the largest proportion of the city’s workforce, offering employment to 15.4 per cent of Edinburgh’s workers. Next was finance and insurance with 10.8 per cent, which is twice the UK average.
Financial services were also the fastest growing sectors in terms of the number of businesses. In five years, the industry has grown a massive 46.4 per cent in the city. Following closely behind was information and communication with a five year growth of 46 per cent.
Footfall in the city is also on the rise. The report found that December and August showed the highest footfall along Princes Street, and December in particular had an increased footfall of 6.6 per cent on last year.