Leeds is set to lead the way for jobs growth in the North with the creation of 19,000 new roles

Leeds will be among the top ten cities in the country for employment by the end of 2023, creating over 19,000 new jobs, compared to 2021, according to a new economic report.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell’s latest UK Powerhouse report, produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), showed Leeds will be one of the few Northern cities to improve in terms of job creation by the end of 2023.

Leeds is expected to go from ninth in the table in the fourth quarter of 2021, to sixth place by the close of 2023 with 2 per cent year-on-year growth, resulting in the number of jobs in the fourth quarter of 2023 standing 19,200 above the corresponding 2021 value.

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Bryan Bletso, partner and head of international at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Leeds continues to deliver a consistent performance in the UK Powerhouse report. Its employment prospects continue to stand out, which makes good reading for the future of the city and the West Yorkshire region.

Bryan Bletso said: “Leeds continues to deliver a consistent performance in the UK Powerhouse report."

“This comes despite the loss of the HS2 connection, which while a blow to the construction industry, is not expected to dent employment prospects in the medium term. How far the loss will impact the benefits that improved transport connectivity would bring remains to be seen.”

The city posted 6.2 per cent economic growth by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, which left Leeds the 26th best performing in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) – the total value of goods and services produced.

The strong employment performance of Leeds is in contrast to its regional rivals. While nearby Sheffield delivered similar economic output in the fourth quarter of 2021, Leeds’ record on job creation is significantly better in 2021 and projected to be better still by the fourth quarter of 2023.

Employment growth in Leeds has been driven by the construction sector and is reflective of the number of infrastructure projects underway in Leeds and the wider West Yorkshire region.

This includes the development of new student accommodation and office space in Leeds city centre.

Eight of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the UK by the fourth quarter of 2023 are, however, expected to be located in the South and East of England.

Josie Dent, managing economist at CEBR and one of the report’s authors, said: “The economy is still expected to face some turbulence between now and the end of next year, notably through volatility in commodity prices, supply chain pressures, and the emerging cost-of-living crisis domestically.

“All of these factors are set to impact growth both at the aggregate level and, to a varying extent, within individual cities.

“This report highlights that much of the fastest growth during next year will be concentrated in the South.”

FDI to be a key driver

The UK Powerhouse report also examined the latest trends in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the UK. Yorkshire sits fifth in the regional table for FDI but improving this position in the future is seen as an important step if Leeds and other Northern cities are to improve economic output and if the Government’s own levelling up agenda is to be realised.

Mr Bletso said: “While transport and construction will remain important, the report shows that FDI continues to be a key driver for economic growth and is behind much of the continued success enjoyed by cities in the South.”