The geography of the Tees Valley economy

Our briefing maps employment in the Tees Valley in order to understand the development of the area's economy.

The purpose of this paper is to look at the geography of jobs across the Tees Valley local enterprise partnership (LEP) area, compare this to other cities and LEPs in the UK and set out what this is likely to mean for the future performance of the Tees Valley economy.

Despite predictions that ever-advancing communications technologies would lead to the ‘death of distance’, the location of jobs is becoming increasingly important for the performance of city economies. More knowledge-focused types of economic activity tend to value the benefits that proximity and face-to-face interaction brings, and analysis shows that these types of jobs have increasingly been clustering in city centres.

This means that understanding the geography of jobs in and around cities, and the role that different employment sites play, is of growing importance to cities and the local enterprise partnerships that they sit within. Not only does it have implications for the types of jobs that these areas are able to attract, but it also has knock-on impacts on the performance of the high street and access to jobs.

Geography of Jobs in the Tees Valley Economy

The briefing argues that Middlesbrough city centre is at the heart of the Tees Valley economy, but that it is underperforming when compared to other city centres in Britain.

In order to attract new and better jobs, the Tees Valley region needs to improve the attractiveness of Middlesbrough city centre – primarily through improving the skills levels of residents, but also through transport, commercial space and the location of the public sector. The economic policies that the forthcoming mayor adopts will therefore need to have a spatial focus if they are to improve the performance of the Tees Valley economy.