Economic Performance

The overall productivity within the local economy can be measured by calculating the Gross Value Added (GVA) per hour worked. The graph below shows this productivity trend over recent years relative to the UK (index=100). Wakefield’s economic productivity fell between 2004 and 2009, relative to the UK as a whole, but has been increasing gradually since then. Leeds used to have the highest productivity in the sub-region, but this has been declining while productivity in Bradford has been increasing. Trends in Calderdale and Kirklees have been similar to those seen in Wakefield.

Broken down by industry, manufacturing currently accounts for the largest share of GVA, followed by real estate activities and the wholesale and retail trade (including repair of motor vehicles) (see table below). Information and communication and finance industries tend to have high levels of productivity and employ higher skills, but the values of both are relatively small in Wakefield, and the value of the finance and insurance sector in Wakefield has fallen over the past 10 years.

Value growth over the past decade has been strong in transport and storage and in wholesale (there has been very little retail growth). The value of human health economy has also increased, and there has been marked growth in the value of the administrative and support services industry. The biggest drop in value has been in the energy/utilities sector, and will in large part be reflecting the scaling down of electricity generation at the Ferrybridge power station site.

Value of GVA by industry, with the effects of inflation removed (2016 prices). Source: ONS Gross Value Added

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Economic Survey shows that business confidence peaked at the end of 2013 and then fell sharply (see graph below). Confidence has recovered since the low in Q1 2017.