The Demos-PwC Good Growth Index was first developed in 2011 and compares 12 indicators across 37 cities in the UK annually. These indicators include traditional views of success like jobs and disposable income, but also wider aspects of good growth such as health, work-life balance, housing affordability and owner-occupation, skills levels, income distribution and environmental factors. Uniquely, these indicators, and their relative weighting in the Index, were chosen based on a UK-wide survey of what the public say are the most important to them about where they live in relation to the economic area of their lives. This is critical to helping places define themselves, focusing investment and resource allocation.
We ran the data for Jersey and found that it compares very positively to other, mostly much larger, cities and travel-to-work areas in the UK, falling just outside the top 10 when compared to the 2013 Index. Jersey excels in comparatively more of the factors that the public say are important for their economic wellbeing. This highlights the continued overall benefits and attractiveness of doing business in Jersey. We enjoy a comparatively high quality of life and it’s a good place to live and work.
Indicator: Unemployment rate
Although Jersey has had historically high unemployment rates in recent years, this still compares favourably with the average for other cities in the UK, in common with much of the south of England and other financial centres.
Indicator: Gross household disposable income per head
After accounting for different tax regimes in Jersey and the UK, this is higher than average in Jersey compared to other cities in the UK, in common with much of the south of England and other financial centres.
Indicator: % of economically inactive who are long-term sick
The UK public rate their health as one of the most important factors relating to the work and money side of their lives. The % of people in Jersey who are long-term sick is in line with the average in the UK. Some cities in the south-east, including London, are above average.
Indicator: % of employed people working 45 or more house per week
Work-life balance in Jersey is significantly better than average in UK cities, scoring one of the highest in the rankings. This reflects Jersey’s attractiveness for business in terms of quality of life.
Indicator: % of GVA in production (excluding agriculture)
In common with some other UK cities, and many small islands, Jersey has limited land resources; is not a production or manufacturing-based economy and therefore scores below average. The future economic strategy for Jersey is focused on high-value, low-footprint, knowledge-based sectors, whilst noting our dependence on imports (including energy) reduces our resilience. It is important to recognise the interdependencies between these sectors and our local environment and quality of life, including stewardship of the countryside and local food production.
Indicator: Ratio of house prices to median earnings
As an island economy, the balance between supply and demand means that property has long been more expensive than many parts of the UK. The additional constraints on housing availability, from both a land and population perspective, which drive up prices in Jersey, are well understood. The score for Jersey for this indicator suggests house prices are significantly more expensive compared to median earnings than any other place in the Index.
Indicator: % living in owner-occupied accommodation
Jersey’s score is below average. The context in Jersey is different from the UK regarding housing qualifications, which in turn are important for population and price regulation. There is a need to set this in the context of ensuring we retain and attract the people and skills we need.
Indicator: Average commuting time
Businesses and citizens in many parts of the UK and elsewhere cite travel to work time, associated costs and implications for work-life-balance, as a serious issue. By comparison, this is another good news story for Jersey about our quality of life, with the shortest average commuting time compared to all other cities and travel-to-work areas in the UK.
Indicator: % of population aged 25-64 with NVQ3+ qualification or higher
Jersey’s skills in the current adult working population are below average compared to other cities and travel-to-work areas in the UK. Most other financial centres and cities in the south of England have above average skills.
Indicator: % of population aged 16-24 with NVQ3+ qualification or higher
Jersey’s skills in this younger age bracket are slightly below average compared to other cities and travel-to-work areas in the UK, suggesting an overall improving trend.
Average skills in Jersey are improving, with each generation gaining more skills than their predecessors. However, the overall position is still behind the average for UK cities, whilst some of Jersey’s other international competitor jurisdictions have even higher skills levels. Further improvement and long-term investment in education and skills is still needed, alongside short-term measures to ensure business growth is not constrained by a skills shortage.
Indicator: Ratio of mean to median earnings
Jersey, alongside several other wealthy UK cities, has a challenge around inequality in society, scoring below average. This is a reminder that the UK public place importance on good growth for all. Many Jersey businesses have a strong focus on community affairs and local corporate social responsibility activities, and the Island’s community sector plays a critical role.
Indicator: Carbon intensity of the economy gCO2/£earnings
Carbon emissions in Jersey are lower than average in UK cities, as might be expected in an economy with low levels of industrial production. However, this indicator may be of limited relevance for Jersey. First because not all the embedded carbon emissions in products we consume are included. Second because we know that Jersey’s people also value a number of other aspects of the local natural environment very highly, which are not reflected in this indicator.