Birmingham has been named a lowly 50th out of 64 in a new report charting economic prosperity in urban areas.

Coventry was named the most successful city in the West Midlands by thinktank Centre for Cities looking into economic data in the past 10 years.

It looks into success in creating jobs, attracting new businesses and increasing its population, which is seen as a sign that the city is providing economic opportunities.

The record of Birmingham and its neighbours is mixed. Although the city and the surrounding area has succeeded in creating jobs, attracting new employers and growing its population, it is lagging behind Coventry and parts of the south of England, but doing better than some cities in the North East which are struggling.

The report is based on an analysis of official statistics. Rather than using local authority boundaries, the think-tank looked at “Primary Urban Areas”, a category sometimes used by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

This means that the figures for Birmingham also cover Solihull, Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.


The thinktank also looked at the performance of Stoke-on-Trent, including Stoke itself and nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, and of Telford and the surrounding urban area.

It concluded: “The four West Midlands cities have seen some reasonable growth over the last ten years, with Coventry standing out as a strong performer

“Coventry stands out as the most successful city over the ten years, having achieved an eight per cent increase in jobs, a 22 per cent increase in business stock (a third higher than the national average) and a population growth of 11 per cent, considerably outgrowing the rest of the West Midlands.

“Although it still has a high proportion of public sector jobs, the most recent figures show Coventry to have the second fastest growth in private sector jobs among UK cities.

“Stoke continues to struggle across a range of indicators, with a decline in jobs between 2004 and 2013, and only a one per cent increase in business stock. Its population has grown by just three per cent in that time.”

The number of jobs in the Birmingham area has grown by 23,405 between 2003 and 2014, an increase of two per cent. This places the city in 30th place for job creation of the 64 urban areas studied by the think tank.

The number of businesses in the Birmingham area has grown by 5,070 between 2003 and 2014, an increase of nine per cent, while city’s population has risen by seven per cent or 157,900 people.

The number of jobs in the Telford area has risen by 3,258, an increase of 4 per cent, while the number of jobs in Stoke fell by 3,254, a fall of two per cent.

Jobs in Coventry rose by 11,771, an increase of eight per cent, the seventh highest growth of all the areas examined.

Andrew Carter, acting chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “Five months out from the election, this report makes the strongest economic case yet for the next Government to step up to the challenge of investing in the long-term success of our cities, and build a brighter future in which more people and places can contribute to, and share in, prosperity and growth.

“The stark picture the report paints of the enormous gap in the fortunes of UK cities over 10 years underlines why a ‘steady as she goes’ approach must be scrapped.”