Leeds United's return to Premier League and Channel 4's arrival in city centre provide jobs boost for Leeds

A new study suggests Leeds will see a slight decline in its economic output in 2022, but the arrival of Channel 4’s national headquarters and Leeds United’s return to the Premier League are expected to help the jobs market bounce back.

By Greg Wright
Monday, 6th December 2021, 4:00 pm

The latest UK Powerhouse report by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), suggests that Leeds will have a relatively weak economic performance next year, with a GVA (Gross Value Added) of 7.0% in the fourth quarter of 2021, declining to 2.4% by the end of the fourth quarter of 2022.

This makes the economy £600m larger compared to the year before, leaving Leeds 36th in the league table of 50 “powerhouse” cities.

In terms of the number of people in work, Leeds is projected to improve on its ninth position in Q4 2021 to fifth by the end of Q4 2022, with a 2.2% increase equating to 11,500 new positions being filled.

The success of Leeds United on the pitch is providing an economic boost for the city, according to a new study

A spokesman said: “The report suggests that the emergence of Leeds as an entrepreneurial hotspot for the media and entertainment industry has a big part to play in this success.

“The arrival of Channel 4’s national headquarters is set to act as a catalyst for a flourishing digital and creative sector, generating new business and employment opportunities.

“With the city in the powerhouse ‘play-off’ places for its employment prospects, it’s appropriate that the report also highlights the value of sports clubs as vehicles for generating significant amounts of economic activity.

“The success of Leeds United on the pitch is shown to have given the city a relatively high sports sector GVA and percentage shares of total GVA.”

Hannah Clipston, a partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “While the economic growth of Leeds is not what many might have hoped for by the end of next year, the projected recovery in the jobs market is welcome and the city has the assets to establish firm foundations for future sustainable growth.

“Leeds looks the natural leader in West Yorkshire and the wider region for the levelling up agenda and the arrival of the Infrastructure Bank, coupled with the Leeds Digital Skills Action Plan and The Leeds Economic Recovery Framework, show the city has already acted on some of the report’s recommendations and this is likely to be a driver of success.

“The arrival of Channel 4 is already leading a digital drive and building on the city’s existing reputation as a northern hub for media and creative businesses."

Ms Clipston added: “With £3.9bn invested in large scale development over the last 10 years, the report suggests this activity is starting to bear fruit.”

"The economic output figures are a warning that the city can’t afford to be complacent if it wants to be more than a mid-table performer but importantly, many of the building blocks are in place to give the city a springboard to recover from the worst effects of the pandemic in the months ahead.”

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