Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter September-October 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis is the last newsletter from ONS West Midlands – the regional statistician service ceased in the West Midlands as of 21 October 2010.

The newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.

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New ONS products to help child poverty analysis

Painting pictures of place series local profiles - centre for regional and local statistics - Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have created three products to assist understanding and analysis of child poverty in a locality, as part of  a collaborative project between the ONS East and West Midlands Regional Statisticians, and ONS Area Based Analysis.

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Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter July-August 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.
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Local tourism industries generate over 6% of the region’s total economic output

According to an analysis by the Tourism Intelligence Unit at Office for National Statistics, the economic output (‘GVA’) generated by West Midlands-based tourism businesses accounts for a relatively small proportion of overall regional GVA (6.2%) compared to other parts of the UK such as the South West (8.9%) and the North West (8.3%). However, given that under some definitions of the tourism sector (such as the narrower, DCMS definition used in our Culture & Prosperity report), tourism industries appear less important to West Midlands economic output, this new paper may cause a shift in perception to a certain extent.

Boeing 777 on runway at Birmingham AirportIndeed, the paper (and its definition of the tourism sector) may trigger a reassessment of the importance of tourism to the national economy generally. For example, the finding that tourism contributes 7.1% of all GVA in the UK contrasts with a recent study commissioned by VisitBritain, which suggests the visitor economy directly generates 4.0% of UK GDP.

Notes: GVA and GDP measures are different and therefore not directly comparable, but in this instance, it was deemed useful to compare the two studies to explore different assessments of tourism contribution to the overall economy.

Download the full article

Photo by Martin O’Connell

New report confirms growth in local creative workforce

Recent work by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found a national and regional growth in the level of creative industries employment between 2006 – 2008. According to data sourced from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), employment in creative firms across England increased by 11% (compared to a 2% average growth in employment for all sectors). The level of creative industry employment growth in the West Midlands region (+19%) was relatively high compared to other regions and, in line with national trends, was more marked than the average increase for all sectors within the region.  

These findings confirm trends reported last year in our Culture & Prosperity: the economic role of culture in the West Midlands. Although the methodology and timeframe differed slightly across the two papers, the conclusion is the same: a regional growth in creative industry employment compared to the national creative industry average and compared to the average for all regional firms.

Unfortunately, as the author of the paper points out, there are continued issues around getting hold of more recent creative industries data. Both mainstream definitions of the creative sectors (DCMS evidence toolkit & Frontier Economics) use 2003 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes – rather than the newer 2007 codes.

From 2009, the data for the IDBR has been collected based on the current SIC 2007 codes, something which poses problems for cultural researchers in that the process of converting 2003 codes to 2007 codes leads to data that is not exactly comparable with pre-2009 data. This situation could be seen as problematic during the aftermath of a recession when a clear picture of the economic situation is particularly helpful.

Download the report and accompanying dataset

Notes: The ‘official’ definition of the creative industries sectors used by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) remains that documented in the DCMS Evidence Toolkit. The Frontier Economics definition, although widely known, remains experiential at this time. 

Photo by Dean Terry

Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter May/June 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.

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West Midlands population estimated to have grown to 5.431 million in 2009

Office for National StatisticsThe population of the West Midlands grew at a lower annual rate than that for England in 2009, according to the latest population estimates released by the Office for National Statistics.

With a population of 5.431 million, the region’s population grew by 0.4 per cent (23,000) on the preceding year.

Natural change (birth minus deaths) was the most significant contributor to the growth at 20,000, whereas net migration accounted for the remainder, and with a value of 3,000, was the lowest of any nation or region in the UK.

Locally within the West Midlands region, the most significant increases in population (in absolute terms) were recorded in:

  • Birmingham  – up 10,000 to 1.029 million
  • Coventry – up 2,000 to 313,000
  • Sandwell – up 2,000 to 291,000

With an increase in population on the preceding year of 0.9 per cent, Birmingham also recorded the largest rate of increase, whereas Stoke-on-Trent’s population is estimated to have decreased by 0.2 per cent.

Across the UK, the population grew to 61.792 million in 2009, an increase of 0.6% on the preceding year, with natural change contributing 217,000 and net migration 177,000.

A detailed breakdown of all the 2009 mid-year population statistics—nationally, regionally and locally, as well as by age groups and gender—are available from the Office for National Statistics.

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ONS release revised local authority population estimates for 2002 to 2008

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released revised mid-2002 to mid-2008 population estimates for local authorities in England and Wales. The revisions have been produced as a result of improvements to ONS  methodology, introduced as part of the cross-government Migration Statistics Improvement Programme.

The new population estimates use an enhanced method for apportioning migrants to local authorities incorporating modelling using up-to-date survey and administrative data. Higher Education Statistics Agency data is utilised to improve estimates of student internal migration.

ONS have produced a population estimates analysis tool to help users understand the main patterns and trends in the population estimates. Users can select specific areas of interest and compare local estimates across time and with estimates at higher levels of geography.

Data users are also able to select specific age groups and view the components of population change for the chosen area.

Mid-2009 population estimates will be published on 24th June 2010, and will be based upon the new methodology.

Visit the ONS website for more information.

ONS Local Profiles data CD now available

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) have created and made available to data users a free CD with local data profiles.

These Local Profiles have been developed by the ONS Centre for Regional and Local Statistics and represent a significant milestone in providing local authorities with the means to gain value from official statistics. They will help authorities to better understand the economic, social and environmental picture for their area.

The first set of Profiles are included as part of an ONS toolkit, available on CD, that will be of great value to local authorities when preparing their Local Economic Assessments (LEA), in addition to many other users of official statistics.

Key LEA contacts in local authorities will shortly receive the CD by mail.

The toolkit also contains commuting data, the small area Change over Time Analysis Viewer, Inter Departmental Business Register data, and the Atlas of Deprivation.

Find out more information about the free Local Profiles CD from the ONS, or email better.info@ons.gov.uk.

Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids event roundup

The Observatory and Regional Action West Midlands jointly organised Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids, an event held in Birmingham on 19th March.

The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of evidence in funding applications. 50 delegates from a range of voluntary and public sector organisations attended the day.

This post rounds up videos, presentation slides, links and reaction to the event.

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2011 Census Output Geography Consultation

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) are holding a consultation on the 2011 Census Output Geography policy.

Dr Ray Perrins from the South West Observatory has volunteered to respond on behalf of the Association of Regional Observatories.

There are three main topics:

  1. A new geography for improved reporting of business statistics and statistics relating to the workplace
  2. An upper layer of Super Output Areas (USOAs)
  3. A request for exceptional instances of current Output Areas and Super Output Areas, as designed for 2001, that do not fit present criteria for statistical zones

However, the consultation also provides an opportunity for you to comment on any aspect of the current 2011 Census Output Geography policy.

If you’re involved in the Regional Observatories and would like anything to be included in any response from the Association of Regional Observatories, please contact Dr Ray Perrins at the South West Observatory. Please get responses to Ray by Monday, 22nd March 2010.

However, the consultation is open to everyone, including members of the public. ONS suggest on their site that:

Government departments, unitary, county and district councils, metropolitan boroughs and other large census user organisations should discuss their requirements internally before making a joint submission.

How to make a submission and contact details are available on the ONS consultation page.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Despite a positive performance in the last quarter of 2009, the Cultural Observatory’s latest recession snapshot (pdf, 311kb) suggests the West Midlands’ cultural sector is facing a period of ‘funding uncertainty’.

Evidence highlighted in the paper suggests that while many local cultural organisations remain optimistic about the short-term stability of core funding sources, perception of funding security is low compared to confidence levels pre-recession.

Spines of books on a shelf in a libraryIn the Cultural Observatory’s own economic survey with local cultural organisations, 72% of respondents stated that they were ‘less optimistic’ about the stability of core funding sources compared to 2007.

Against a backdrop of funding concerns, the research shows that the cultural sector continued to see increases in numbers of customers through the door in the last three months of 2009, building on the unusually high increase in footfall seen over the summer.

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Regional gross value added (GVA) estimates for 2008 indicate the West Midlands produced below average growth

Office for National StatisticsThe 2008 Regional and 2007 Sub-Regional Gross Value Added (GVA) data (PDF, 143kb) are released today by the Office for National Statistics.

Indexed GVA per head (where UK=100) for the West Midlands in 2008 was 85.1, a marginal decrease from the revised 2007 index value of 85.4.

GVA per head in the West Midlands rose from £17,000 in 2007 to £17,500 in 2008, an increase of 2.5% compared to a 2.9% increase in GVA per head across the UK, and a 2.7% increase in England.

In the latest data for 2008 the West Midlands GVA per head is ranked seventh amongst the nine English regions. London is the strongest performer at £34,800 and the North East is the least strong at £15,900.

In total, regional GVA for the West Midlands in 2008 was £94.5bn, an increase of £2.8bn on the revised figures for 2007.

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Roundup of Census 2011 outputs event in Leicester

Office for National Statistics logoLast Thursday, I attended a Census 2011 outputs event.  It was hosted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in Leicester, and covered a range of Census-related topics.

I’ve highlighted key points from the event in this post.

The biggest proposed change to the Census in 2011, compared to 2001, is to open up access to the data. ONS want to move away from static tables towards dynamic tables, such as data cubes, that allow researchers to interrogate data more.

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Invitation to ONS 2011 Census outputs consultation event in Leicester

Office for National Statistics logoThe next full census of England and Wales will take place in 2011. It includes a number of new approaches which will be evaluated during a rehearsal on 11th October 2009 with around 135,000 selected households in three local authority areas.

The Census Rehearsal will test, among other things, the questions being asked, the accuracy of the address list for posting out questionnaires and the new internet services for getting help and completing questionnaires online.

Planning and preparation for the outputs from the 2011 Census is continuing with a series of roadshows in October 2009 to formally start the consultation on outputs.

Along with the original event locations across England, an additional event will now be held at the Marriott Hotel in Leicester on Monday 12th October Thursday 22nd October.

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