Josh Harris and Steve Pauley report on the economic health of Newham, home to the University of East London.
Newham has both high levels of productivity in its workforce and high levels of education and training, compared with other local authorities in Great Britain (GB).
Newham is the 36th most productive out of 408 local areas in GB, according to figures from Newham Borough Council.
High levels of productivity within the borough have led to workplace-based weekly earnings above the national average.
GVA £10,000 over national average
Gross Value Added (GVA) per head was £28,771 in 2004, nearly £10,000 over the national average. Newham was 13th on the productivity indicator within London.
Ninety five percent of the 16-year-olds in Newham remain in education or training, one of the highest rates in London. In 2011 the A-level pass rate in Newham increased to 95.4% and those achieving A*-B grades have increased to 39.3%.
Employment up two years in a row
High levels of productivity in Newham have led to a further increase in employment. This is the second employment rate rise in as many years for Newham. A council spokesperson said: ‘Our employment rate is the highest it’s been since records began, with our employment service Workplace supporting 20,000 people into work since it opened.’
The latest employment rate figures show a rise to 63% from 57% in the year following the London 2012 Olympics.
Yet, as the chart shows (see below), employment in Newham is in the lower-paid occupations compared with the average London and GB figures. It is weighted towards elementary occupations; caring, leisure and service occupations; and administrative and secretarial occupations.
Employment in different sectors in Newham
Job Seekers Allowance numbers down
Although the employment rate figures are still below the London average of 72.2%, the increase of people with jobs in Newham has led to a decrease in the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA). According to the Office of National Statistics, the proportion of people aged 16-24 claiming JSA is down to 3.7% from 5.2% before London 2012. The current figure of 8,216 has decreased from over 15,000 in 2011.
The decrease in the number of people claiming JSA is partly due to the effect of the Olympics and Paralympics on the economy of Newham.
Newham gets infrastructure boost from Olympics
A spokesperson for Newham said: ‘The investment [from the Olympics] has not been seen in the form of cash donations to the Borough; it has been an in-kind investment mainly to our infrastructure and employment base.
‘Power cables have been undergrounded which makes way for further investment and new developments – particularly in Stratford and the Royal Docks.’
Arc of opportunity
Newham’s economic growth is concentrated in what the council refers to as its ‘arc of opportunity’, which runs from Stratford down to Canning Town and Eastwards along the Royal Docks to Beckton.