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Regional Profiles: Economy - South East, May 2012

Released: 30 May 2012 Download PDF

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Highest 10 NUTS3 areas productivity levels in the UK, 2009

The 10 NUTS3 areas with the highest labour productivity include Berkshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire
Source: Office for National Statistics


  1. NUTS3 areas are local authorities or groups of local authorities

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The South East is the second largest economic contributor among the regions of England and countries of the UK. Its local authorities have some of the highest levels of productivity after London.

The South East is responsible for nearly 15 per cent of the UK’s gross value added (GVA). The region’s headline GVA was £186.9 billion in 2010. The latest subregional data (2009) show that a third of the region’s economic output is generated in the counties and unitary authorities of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Productivity, as measured by GVA per hour worked, was 8 per cent above the UK average in 2010. Outside of London, Berkshire and Surrey had the highest productivity in 2009 with levels of 20 per cent or more above the UK average.

The employment rate for the region’s residents was 74.2 per cent in Q4 2011 compared with the UK average of 70.3 per cent. The unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent for the same period, compared with 8.4 per cent. The latest subregional data for the year ending September 2011 show that the employment rate ranged from 62.7 per cent in Thanet to 82.1 per cent in Reigate and Banstead. Investigate how unemployment rates have changed over time at regional level.

Gross disposable household income (GDHI) of South East residents was also the second highest, after London, at £17,600 per head. There was a wide range within the region, with GDHI lowest in Portsmouth at £12,170 per head, compared with £21,500 in Surrey.

The South East generated the second largest contribution to the UK’s GVA for the information and communication sector at 22 per cent in 2009. Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles activities accounted for 17 per cent of the UK total from this sector, also larger than the region’s share of total GVA (15 per cent). GVA by industry in the UK interactive map allows users to see how other industries contribute to the GVA of the area.

In 2010 businesses in the region spent £5.6 billion on research and development. This was 22 per cent of the UK total and the highest regional spend in the UK.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Notes:

    The data section of this release provides more economic data.

    Gross value added (GVA) is a key measure of economic performance. The data are consistent with the headline workplace based series, which allocates the incomes of individuals to their place of work.

    Labour productivity webpage provides access to the latest releases. The Productivity handbook looks at measuring productivity at a regional level. The Subregional productivity March 2012 article provides analysis at a subregional level.

    GVA per head interactive map shows how GVA varies relative to the population of an area. GVA per head is not a measure of productivity.

    Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates are seasonally adjusted Labour Force Survey (LFS) headline indicators. Regional employment and economic inactivity rates are data for all people aged 16 to 64. Subregional data are from the Annual Population Survey (APS), October 2010-September 2011.

    Labour market indicators are defined in the Glossary.

    Local Labour Market webpage provides access to the latest releases for employment, unemployment, inactivity, claimant count and other labour market data.

    Model-Based Estimates of ILO Unemployment for LAD/UAs cover all people aged 16 or over.

    Gross disposable household income (GDHI) covers the income received by households and non profit-making institutions serving households and is net of tax payments.

    Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC2007) defines the industries.

    The Expenditure on research and development 2010 statistical bulletin includes definitions of research and development.

  2. Source:

    All data are published by ONS

  3. You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit the National Archives website or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email:

  4. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Further information

Regional Trends, No. 43 - Portrait of the South East, 2011 Edition (Pdf 2327Kb) - This portrait provides a wide range of data giving an overview of what it is like to live or work in the South East. The article presents a wide range of information covering infrastructure, demographic, environmental and economic statistics for the south east corner of England. It includes information for districts, unitary and local authorities in the South East which allows comparison between the various areas and the rest of the UK.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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