The economy section covers a broad range of topics that encompass the number of businesses, the generation of economic wealth, employment, unemployment, income, earnings and various forms of welfare benefits. Some of Lancashire's biggest and most established employers are highlighted, along with award winners, and visitors to certain attractions that highlight the county's important tourist economy.
Gross value added (GVA) and gross domestic product (GDP) are prime measures of wealth generation. Yearly changes in the GVA results are closely monitored by a variety of local organisations, and the GVA per head results for Lancashire are viewed with particular interest. The GDP article allows the Lancashire-14 area figures to be viewed within a wider European Union area context.
The number of active enterprises is another very important indicator, whilst the survival rates emphasise the short-lifespan of a large proportion of businesses.
The Queen's Awards for Enterprise is the prime business award, and we have records of the Lancashire winners since its inception in 1966. The visits to attractions article presents some important results that confirm the importance of the visitor economy in various parts of the county.
The employment surveys reveal Lancashire's strengths and weaknesses, and also highlight the significant variations between Lancashire authorities. Manufacturing employment remains particularly strong in certain Lancashire authorities, whilst in districts such as Preston and Lancaster, it has a minor role. The GVA results show how Lancashire struggles to keep pace with national rates of change, and the employment figures emphasise how the county is under-represented in some of the high value financial and professional service sectors.
The graphs that measure the very long-term changes in employee numbers in each of the Lancashire authorities demonstrate how certain authorities have dramatically grown their employment base since 1929. In contrast, other areas that had far more established industrial economies at the start of this time period, have struggled to maintain employee growth as their local economies have undergone fundamental change.
The unemployment results map the changes over time, and are inextricably linked with the strength of the local economy and benefit changes. The income earnings and benefits article reveal how average earnings in the county vary between authorities, but at the Lancashire level, it remains noticeably below the national average. The gap between Lancashire and the national results narrows when viewed by income levels. These encompass the earnings results, but also add the impact of monies from benefits and personal investments.
The introduction of universal credit is having a dramatic impact on a range of working age benefits, and it will be some time before a clear picture emerges. Finally, the state pension numbers indicate the slow but steady increase in the large number of pensioners in the county, and the particular authorities where pensioners are more prevalent.