Crawley has the highest employment rate and third highest wages in the UK, according to a new report.
A Crawley Borough Council spokesman said: “The Centre for Cities 2017 report, which compares economic statistics across 63 cities and large towns in the UK, underlines the town’s status as a great place to do business.
“Crawley has excellent transport links and infrastructure, a skilled workforce, great connectivity and large economically-active areas like the Manor Royal Business District and Gatwick Airport – all reasons why it’s a great place to do business.”
The report found that Crawley:
* Has the highest employment rate in the UK at 84.9 per cent in 2016, 10.1 per cent higher than in 2015
* Sees workers earning the third highest average wage in the UK of £634 per week, behind only London and Reading
* Has the seventh highest number of patents granted per 100,000 people
* Is the eighth most productive city, with an average gross value added (GVA) of £59,500 per worker. GVA measures the contribution to the economy of each individual
* Has the highest proportion of private sector jobs in the UK (75,029 private sector jobs, only 10,444 public sector). This is a ratio of 7.2 and the UK average is 2.8
* Generates £10,910 of services sold abroad per job in the town – the sixth highest in the UK
* Is one of only 13 towns or cities with above average exports per job and productivity
* Saw an increase in business start-ups of 29 per cent – the third highest in the UK and 20 per cent above the average
Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, said: “ The facts and figures in this report confirm the great news for Crawley, its residents and businesses.
“The council’s support for business, town centre regeneration and skills improvements have been very successful and are helping to drive the success of Crawley’s economy reflected in these figures. We intend to continue this success as we work to improve prosperity and support the town’s long-term economic growth.”
The report found Crawley had the seventh lowest rate of residents with no formal qualifications at 4.9 per cent, only 28 per cent have high level (NVQ4 and above) qualifications, which ranks the town 47 out of 63.
However, this has increased from 22.7 per cent last year, which placed Crawley 60 out of 63.
Cllr Smith added: “Having low unemployment and high wages is positive but we know that the best paid jobs are often held by people who commute into Crawley rather than living here.
“We’re working hard to upskill residents so they can benefit from the growing local economy and these statistics show that this work is bearing fruit. The statistics show that around 3,600 more residents have high level qualifications compared to the year before.”
Crawley does not fare as well when comparing carbon dioxide emissions.
The town is ranked 41 out of 63 with emissions per capita of 5.4 tonnes.
Cllr Smith said: “Although this figure has improved since last year when we were ranked 52nd, there is still work to do to reduce carbon emissions in the town.
“Our Crawley Area Transport Package is designed to bring forward sustainable transport improvements. These include attempting to get people to use more sustainable methods of transport when coming into the town centre and making better use of public transport around Manor Royal.”
Steve Sawyer, executive director of Manor Royal Business District, said: “The success of our economy nationally, regionally and locally depends on successfully managed and high performing places.
“The report reinforces the contribution that Crawley makes and reminds us not to ignore those destinations outside of the major cities like London and Birmingham. Crawley performs well and is competitive and functions much like a city.
“However, there is no room for complacency. Success is not a destination it is a journey and that means continually looking to improve. The report is rightly positive but the Manor Royal BID with Crawley Borough Council and other partners are driven to ensure that position is maintained and improved upon for the good of the town, the local community and beyond.”
Centre for Cities focuses on the UK’s 63 largest towns and cities for its reports. The report can be found at www.centreforcities.org
For more information on Crawley’s economy visit www.crawley.gov.uk/business