The Harrogate district has weathered the economic downturn and is coming out of the recession strongly, according to a new report released by Harrogate Borough Council.
The Economic Overview of the Harrogate District examined key indicators during the second quarter of the year and compared them with the same period in 2013 to reveal a thriving local business climate.
For example, the number of vacant retail units decreased for the third consecutive quarter to 7.8 per cent, while enquiries for commercial sites and premises rose by 23 per cent – a clear sign of confidence on the part of retailers and other traders.
Tellingly, the number of people making one-to-one business adviser appointments at the Enterprise Gateway for advice on starting or growing a business increased sharply, by 22 per cent.
The increased entrepreneurial activity also appears to have translated into more jobs; the Job Seekers Allowance claimant rate dipped from 1.3 per cent to 0.7 per cent – the lowest since records began.
Coun Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: “Compared with the same quarter last year, the Harrogate district’s economy continues to grow. The continued reduction in unemployment to its lowest recorded level clearly indicates that businesses are recruiting.
“More people are coming to the council asking about commercial properties to move into, and the district’s retail unit vacancy rate has fallen for the third successive quarter.
“Harrogate district weathered the economic storm better than many areas and these figures show that we are emerging from that storm strongly too. It is also heartening to see that more and more people are feeling confident enough in the current climate to seek advice at the Enterprise Gateway about starting their own business.
“The Harrogate district is a great place to live, a great place to visit and a great place to do business. We all know it and now we can see that the figures bear it out too.”
Harrogate Borough Council’s business homepage at www.harrogate.gov.uk/business covers a range of support information for businesses.
l See news story on the Economic Overview report, page 11.