Edinburgh economy in good shape to face uncertain times

Edinburgh is in good shape to handle any economic uncertainty. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

Edinburgh is in good shape to handle any economic uncertainty. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

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NEW figures on Edinburgh’s economy show the Capital is in good shape to face uncertain times, city leaders say.

Edinburgh attracted more foreign direct investment projects last year than other UK cities outside London apart from Manchester and created more jobs as a result.

It also continues to be the most prosperous city outside London.

The percentage of the Edinburgh workforce with a degree level qualification or equivalent is higher than any other major UK city and has risen again, to 55 per cent – up from 46 per cent in 2013.

More than nine out of ten local authority pupils are in work, education or training six months after leaving school.

And the Capital’s recycling rates were higher than other major Scottish cities.

The statistics are set out in the latest edition of the city council’s annual publication Edinburgh by Numbers.

Councillor Gavin Barrie, leader of the city’s economy committee, said: “The facts speak for themselves and show the city has much to be positive about this year.

“The data is extremely encouraging and shows that the number of people educated to degree level has shot up since 2013. It also further strengthens our reputation as a knowledge-based economy, enhancing the attractiveness of Edinburgh for employers to locate or expand their business.

“Our economic and green indicators show we are well placed to adapt to any changes we may have to face in future years in the way we did following the recent economic downturn.”

The Capital’s population is now 498,800 – nine per cent of the Scottish total – and has grown by nine per cent since 2005.

Edinburgh has the highest average earnings per resident – £24,200 – out of major UK cities outside London.

But having topped the jobs table in 2014, with 73.5 per cent of the workforce in employment, it is now third with 72.2 per cent, having been overtaken by Bristol and Leeds.

Health remains the largest sphere of employment for people in the Capital with 48,500 people – 15.1 per cent of the labour force – working in the sector.

It is followed by the financial and insurance sector – 36,700 people or 11.4 per cent of workforce; and education – 30,100 or 9.4 per cent.

Once again Edinburgh had the highest net migration in Scotland, and a higher than average birth rate.

Edinburgh’s child population has increased by eight per cent over the past decade while in Scotland as a whole it declined by 1.8 per cent.

A total of 34,600 new overseas workers registered in Edinburgh between 2013 and 2015. The largest group – 5570 – came from Spain; followed by Poland – 5460; and Italy – 2870.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com