PANDEMIC WEST MIDLANDS: Have you been impacted financially?
The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been severe. First quarter UK GDP fell 20% compared to last year.
Manufacturing PMI hit an all-time low and 496,000 people across the 3 LEP area are on furlough in June 2020, the equivalent of all jobs in Birmingham. Despite the general stasis felt by the economy through furlough and lockdown, the overall claimant count has nearly doubled overall and for young people.
Sectors where we have previously seen growth and expansion are now hardest hit, such as construction and the expanding higher education sector which makes our 3 cities, Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton vulnerable. Our largest employment and GVA sector (professional, businesses and financial services) is still resilient and the sectors hardest hit through furlough (retail, hospitality and tourism) could bounce back providing consumer demand returns.
Economic forecasts consistently show the West Midlands to be one of the UK regions hit hardest by the economic crisis. This is because of our industrial and demographic mix, with some local economies among the most vulnerable in the UK in terms of their sectoral composition and health vulnerability. Those same models also show relatively strong regional growth in 2021, but this depends on assumptions about future market demand and international trade agreements. The stakes are high everywhere, but particularly so in the West Midlands.
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