Inward investment: record high for West Midlands

In the period 2008 to 2009 the West Midlands region received 117 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, a record high since records began in 1991 (shown by the blue line in the graph below).

Bar chart shows increase in foreign direct investment into the West Midlands between 1991 and 2009

The United States was, once again, the country with the highest number of investments with 31, up from 19 last year.

Australia also had a record year with 10 investments alongside traditionally strong investor Germany, also with 10.

Another strong showing was from India with 8 investments, including the announcement of their intention to create several hundred new apprentice positions at Jaguar Land Rover, which was the largest investment in terms of job creation.

Bar chart shows foreign direct investment by country of origin between 2008 and 2009

The acquisition of Waterford Wedgwood by KRS Partners in the US was also a large and important acquisition within the West Midlands, safeguarding up to 700 jobs in the short to medium term. However, the recent job losses in the ceramics sector has affected the industry hard, especially in Stoke-on-Trent where more losses are unfortunately expected.

Therefore, despite record numbers of projects in the region, the number of jobs being created or safeguarded was dramatically down on the last few years as the global economic downturn affects the scale of overseas investments.

That there were more ‘New Investments’ than any other type of investment is encouraging and shows that FDI is still key for many international businesses.

However, those new investments are now much smaller than previously. In fact, the average number of jobs per investment last year, at just over 50, was the lowest since 1991 and down from over 250 per investment last year. However, this also incuded the Jaguar Land Rover acquisition which pushed the job numbers to an exceptional high.

Sub-regionally, Birmingham again received the highest number of investments (23), followed by Staffordshire (21), Coventry (17), Warwickshire (16) and the Black Country (14), with the West Midlands Metropolitan area receiving 62 of the 117 investments and the shire counties 55.

The ‘motor vehicles and parts’ sector saw the highest number of investments, despite the downturn in the industry, with 18 projects.

This was closely followed by ‘computer services’ with 15 and, despite claims that manufacturing is in decline, nearly 60% of all investments (69 in total) were in manufacturing.

Related datasets

Data on inward investments to the West Midlands by sub-region 2008/2009 is available as XLS (38kb), CSV (1kb) or in this web page.

A larger dataset on foreign direct investment in the West Midlands over 2008/2009 (contains several sheets) is available as XLS (32kb) or in this web page.

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