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Economic report sheds light on Dorset economy

The first in a series of economic reports that shed light on the economy of Dorset and its neighbours has been created by BU’s Professor Nigel Jump.

Professor Jump, who will produce these reports quarterly, offers insight into the macro and micro-economics of Dorset and the surrounding area.

Speaking about the report, Professor Jump, who also runs his own business Strategic Economics Ltd, said: “We’re looking at Dorset and its neighbours because BU wants to be engaged and support enterprise and competitiveness in its immediate hinterland. Most of the time, Dorset’s economy will not differ significantly from the rest of UK but it is important to bring out local structures, trends and impacts where we can.”

The first report suggests that Dorset’s economy is moving, broadly, in line with the rest of the UK. Professor Jump says: “I can’t say I was surprised by the overall analysis. Perhaps, the most interesting thing was that Dorset sits sixth of the eight geographical areas considered in terms of productivity; as measured by GVA per hour. 

The question for local development then becomes what is the local aspiration – to be as ‘good' as our eastern and northern neighbours or to be content with being ‘better’ than those to the west?

Among the recent highlights in Dorset’s economy, there has been an improvement in investment intentions of local businesses within the last 12 months and some sectors and businesses are doing very well in their particular markets. However, as Professor Jump points out, “the issue is whether this can be maintained and spread wider in the year ahead. Hopefully, these reports will provide a framework for businesses and others across the board to be able to benchmark performance on growth and development.”

As BU’s quarterly series develops, it will provide insight into how Dorset’s economy moves over time. Professor Jump concluded: “Through these reports, we will see whether the UK’s recovery turns into a sustained upturn and consider, locally, the potential impact of uncertain events such as the aftermath of the election and the possible EU-exit referendum. Later, We may also consider any interventions by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and its partners, such as the planned improvement of the A338. The bottom line is whether Dorset’s economy moves up the regional league over time.”

Professor Nigel Jump was appointed as Professor in Regional Economic Development at Bournemouth University in 2015