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North Somerset Economy - An Overview

North Somerset is home to over 8,000 businesses (source: ONS 2018) from SME’s scaling up to nationally recognised brands across diverse sectors including Yeo Valley, Costain, Smurfit Kappa, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology, Bristol Port, Bristol international Airport.

  • Average annual growth of 4.1% over the last 5 years – above West of England average. Economy worth £4,129m as measured by Gross Value Added (GVA).
  • Labour productivity over £50,000 per full time employee.
  • 8,700 active businesses and growth in overall numbers surviving year on year since 2011.
  • 104,400 people economically active.
  • 100,200 in employment (80.1% vs. GB 73.4%).
  • 8,000 new jobs between 2010 and 2015.

North Somerset has a diverse and growing economy with the number of active enterprises having expanded by 10.2% since 2009 which is higher than the rate of growth for England.

North Somerset economy

A Picture of North Somerset

  • Structurally our business sectors follow a similar profile to the national average, although an analysis does reveal some niche areas including logistics and food and drink.
  • The visitor economy is important with 540,000 staying visitor trips and 7.4m day visitor trips in 2016. Tourists are estimated to spend £364,544,000 in North Somerset, supporting 6,811 jobs, approximately 7% of all employment (South West Research Co. 2016).
  • Labour productivity improved at an impressive rate of more than 4% per year since 2004.
  • Net out-commuting population of 14,000 workers (i.e. 14,000 more people commute out of the area to work than commute in). Although not unexpected given the proximity to Bristol, this does suggest an opportunity to create more local jobs.
  • The unemployment rate for North Somerset is 3.6% which compares very favourably with the national average of 5.1% and there are comparatively low levels of young people ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET).

Ambitions for Economic Growth

Looking to the future, forecasts produced by Oxford Economics indicate that by 2030, North Somerset could have a jobs growth of between 19% and 27%. The North Somerset Employment Land Review and Economic Plan elaborate how this could be achieved.

The Economic Strategy for North Somerset (2018) sets out five strategic ambitions for North Somerset’s economy:

  • To create the conditions for higher value local employment
  • To grow and enhance the competitiveness of our businesses base
  • To foster a culture of enterprise, innovation and aspiration
  • To enhance the area’s skills profile
  • To nurture and build on the area’s distinctive identity.

Weston College graduation

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