Bristol has emerged as one of the most economically resilient cities in the UK. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the city has seen a considerable growth in terms of gross value added – put simply, an economic measure used to evaluate the contribution to the economy of each industry, sector and individual producer in the UK – up to 19% since 2009 and only second to London at 29%.

five year GVA growth 2009-2014

In the aftermath of the largest recession in decades, Bristol has clearly shown its ability to face the biggest test of economic resilience with success. Last year, for example, the city’s economy performed fairly well, rising at a rate of 6.5% between 2013 and 2014, which was not far off the figures achieved by the two fastest growing cities in the UK; London (6.8%) and Glasgow (7%).


What, then, are the triggers of this economic boost, which has seen the city’s finances grow at a time of national economic uncertainty? Data published this week by the ONS shows that in the five years after the annus domini of the British economy, Bristol’s manufacturing sector rocketed by 81%. Other sectors, such as real estate (+ 62%), the agriculture (+37%) and construction (+33%), have also faired very well performed in the last five years given the difficult economic climate.

Looking more closely at Bristol’s economic performance of 2014, the results are even more promising and if such trends continue, 2015 looks set to be an equally good year. Positive improvements were seen in each of the economic indicators of growth, with the finance sector emerging as the most resilient by reversing the misfortunes suffered in the previous five years (-13%) to an increase of +11% in 2014. Gains havealso been seen in both public sectors and in real estate, which grew by 9% and 8.5%, respectively.

With the new year fast approaching, it is clear that Bristol has more than one reason to face the economic future with optimism.

Sources: Regional Gross Value Added (Income Approach), 1997 to 2O14, Office for National Statistics


Simone Grassi, Bristol Is Open