Economic Overview

RBS building in Spinningfields

The ten local authorities of Greater Manchester – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan – represent the largest functional economic area outside London, with a population of 2.7 million and gross value added (GVA) of £54 billion.

Greater Manchester’s Major Sectors

Financial & Professional Services 16.6%
Manufacturing & Engineering 16.1%
Health 13.0%
Retail 10.3%
Education 8.5%
Creative & Digital 7.7%

Source: ONS (2010) Annual Business Inquiry

In terms of employment concentrations against national averages, Manchester City Region has a comparative advantage in Aviation; Financial & Professional Services; Food & Drink; Core Manufacturing; Higher Education; Logistics and Textiles. Compared to the rest of the country outside London and the South East, Manchester has advantages in Creative Industries; IT & Digital, whilst concentrations of employment in Financial & Professional Services demonstrate the truly national significance of Manchester in this sector.

Biotechnology and Energy are the most productive sectors in the Manchester area in terms of GVA per employment, with Environmental Technology; Manufacturing; Engineering and Food & Drink also having above average productivity.

Greater Manchester’s economic growth has been driven by the large-scale and rapid expansion of the service sector, particularly financial & professional services. This sector accounts for a sixth of employment, a fifth of GVA and businesses, and contributed 45% of all GVA growth across Greater Manchester between 1998 and 2008.

Forecasts are for private sector growth in Greater Manchester to outstrip growth for the UK as a whole, and for the public sector to suffer less of a contraction here than nationally.

For helpful reports and the latest data for the Greater Manchester economy see

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