Manchester City Council

A Very Odd Feeling

Yesterday was the first Thursday in May. Election Day. Local elections were taking place in counties all over the country but not in Greater Manchester. For Metropolitan District Councils like Manchester it is our fallow year, the one year in every four when we don't have local elections. However in our last fallow year we had European elections, and the two before that General Elections, so, if I've got it right, you would have to go back to the Nineteen Nineties for the last time we had a year without any elections in the city.

So instead of pounding the streets of Manchester trying to get the vote out, I found myself at lunchtime addressing a Downtown Manchester business event. I'd done a little bit of research before I went on the current state of the Manchester economy. This wasn't too difficult as all I had to do was practice navigating around the new City Council web-site to find the Real Time Economic Dashboard. This feature, which is up-dated on the web every month was born out of a frustration with economic data which was very good at telling you what happened in the economy last year or even the year before, but absolutely no good at telling you what is happening in the economy now, i.e. the information we need to make decisions.

Council officers have put together a range of indicators which whilst not perfect - and any suggestions on how they could be improved would be very welcome - do give us that real time view. Looking at them now they do give a mixed picture which is what one would expect given the overall state of the UK economy. There is however one stat that caught my eye which I thought was not only good news but also pretty remarkable. The percentage of working age Mancunians claiming out of work benefits is now half a per cent lower than it was pre-recession.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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