West Midlands rural areas hit particularly hard by recession

Aerial shot of rural WorcestershireThe Observatory’s Skills Team are working on an assessment of skills and labour market issues in the rural areas of the West Midlands on behalf of the Regional Skills Partnership and the Rural Affairs Forum.

While we expect to publish in April 2009, we can report now on emerging findings relating to the impact of the recession.

Rural areas of the West Midlands have out-performed the rest of the region in recent years in terms of business growth, new business formation and employment growth.

However, there remains a significant dependence on lower value added sectors and industries such as agriculture, manufacturing industries such as food and drink, construction, hotels and catering, and transport.

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State of the Countryside 2008 report released

The Commission for Rural Communities launched their tenth annual State of the Countryside report on 16th July 2008. The report assesses the way rural England has changed over the last ten years by considering the social, economic and environmental issues facing rural England.

The report is split into three chapters: living in the countryside, economic well-being, and land and environment.

Drawing out some of the implications for the region, an article on 24dash.com suggests that the report paints a challenging picture for the rural West Midlands.