Ah, Leeds. The third biggest city in the UK and home to one of the world’s most beautiful Town Halls. It’s the city where x-rays, Monopoly, motion pictures, Cluedo and Marks & Spencer were invented, not to mention the world’s first internet provider. Put simply, Leeds is a place with a huge and surprising history. Recently it was even named the best city in England to live in, beating out the likes of London, Manchester and Birmingham for the award.
Part of the reasoning for that award was the quality of life that Leeds residents enjoy (aside from the continued struggles of the once mighty Leeds United), and part of the reason for that is Leeds’ strong and varied economy. Here’s five facts about Leeds’ economy that you might not know.
- Leeds’ has one of the highest GVA per employee in the country.
On average, the Gross Value Added (GVA) per employee in Leeds is estimated to be £46,900. That makes it the highest in Yorkshire by a long distance – over 80% more than Sheffield, for example, as well as 117% more than Bradford. Compared with other major cities, Leeds is only exceeded by London, Greater Manchester South and Birmingham. Amongst the ‘Core Cities’, Leeds; £46,000 per employee greatly outperforms the average of £32,700.
- Leeds’ is home to some huge companies.
The last 50 years have seen businesses flock to Leeds as a place to situate their headquarters, and that’s meant that today, Leeds has some big names based in town. Who, you might ask? Well, consider for a moment that Asda, Jet2.com, GHD, First Direct, Republic, Premier Farnell, Ginetta Cars and GDF Suez Energy UK are all based here, and you’ll start to understand. There’s also the likes of Rockstar Leeds, Capita, Buckley and Arla Foods.
- There’s a huge banking sector here.
Leeds plays host to one of the largest banking sectors in the United Kingdom, with over 250,000 people employed in the financial and professional services sector in the city. Companies with regional or national offices in Leeds include Lloyds Banking Group, First Direct, KPMG, HBOS, Allied Irish, RBS, HSBC, Leeds Building Society, Alliance and Leicester, Yorkshire Bank, Zurich Financial Services and Direct Line. Indeed, the Bank of England have their second HQ in Leeds. In total, the output of Leeds’ banking sector is valued at over £13 billion per year and is the biggest UK banking sector outside of London.
- Manufacturing hasn’t been lost.
Unlike many Northern cities, Leeds has always had a mixed economy. That meant that as the UK’s manufacturing industry went into decline, it didn’t take the whole city with it. Today, Leeds maintains a strong manufacturing base, with over 1,800 companies engaged in the industry. Everything from engineering to chemicals is manufactured in Leeds, with the sector generating well over £7 billion pounds per year.
- Leeds’ economy is bigger than nine European countries.
That’s right, the Leeds City Region’s annual output is greater than nine European nations, putting the scale of its growth in perspective. Additionally, the region has grown over 40% in the last decade, despite a global recession.