A new report has found 4.2million UK jobs are associated with exports to the EU, bolstering the calls of advocates for the UK to remain part of the European Union.
The updated Centre for Economics and Business Research analysis now shows that the latest available figures from 2011 revealed 4.2 million jobs, or 13.3% of the UK workforce, were associated with exports to the EU.
Within this 4.2 million, an estimated 3.1 million UK jobs were directly supported by exports to the European Union in 2011 and 1.1 million jobs were indirectly supported – i.e. through spending income earned from exports.
Total income associated with demand from EU exports was £211 billion or £3,500 per head of the population in 2011.
The number of jobs associated with EU demand in professional, technical, scientific services and in business and administration support services have risen particularly rapidly between 1997 and 2011, with the numbers of jobs in both of those industrial sectors almost doubling.
Manufacturing has fared less well in this respect, losing jobs, but this is against the backdrop of structural decline in UK manufacturing employment over the period and the 2011 figures were compiled during the post-crisis sustained weakness in economic growth; the part that exports to the EU has fared better than manufacturing as a whole over the period.
Prof Douglas McWilliams, executive chairman of CEBR,said: “This report demonstrates the levels of UK economic activity that are associated with demand from the European Union.
“Cebr estimates this at 4.2 million jobs, or £211 billion in national income terms. Jobs are spread across UK regions, but East Midlands and West Midlands have the highest proportion of their workforces supported by demand from the EU.
“Across the economy, the manufacturing sector has most jobs linked to demand from exports to the EU but it is notable that between 1997 and 2011, the numbers of EU-supported jobs in business services have almost doubled.
“As the debate of the UK’s relationship with the EU continues, I think it is important that debate understands a sizeable chunk of the UK economy is supported by demand from EU member states.”
The new analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of British Influence, updates the 2000 report ‘UK jobs dependent on the EU’ by Brian Ardy, Iain Begg and Dermot Hodson of South Bank University’s European Institute.
The CBI today responded to the research, with Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director saying: “It’s clear that being in the EU has created jobs and growth across the UK and it would be unwise to put that at risk.
“Staying in a reformed EU is the path to economic success in the years ahead and British business, large and small, is unequivocal on this point.
“But the EU cannot stand still if it wants to keep pace with international rivals, so it must be more outward-looking, signing more trade deals to open up new markets for ambitious firms.”