The Observatory

The Observatory

by Gareth Roberts

The Midlands Engine Economic Observatory is a critical function of the Midlands Engine, providing comprehensive and contemporary data, analysis and intelligence on the whole Midlands economy.

Our Observatory, which is funded by both the Midlands Engine and partnership contributions, brings together a unique collaboration of leading researchers and academics from our region’s universities, partner organisations and private sector research specialists. It brings extensive research capabilities to benefit all partners in the Midlands, with analysis and study findings helping to shape strategies, policies and delivery plans towards our shared ambition of a region of thriving businesses, places and communities.

The Observatory provides regular insights and commentaries to Midlands Engine partners – and current work includes evidencing the economic impact of Covid-19 across our region. Our shared investment in our Observatory is just one way in which the Midlands Engine Partnership works together to address challenges and act on the many opportunities ahead, to unlock the full potential of the Midlands.

Please contact us if you want to know more or if you’re interested in working with us to share information and research:

Our Observatory delivered the first Independent Economic Review (IER) ever undertaken for our region. Published in April 2020, the IER is the result of a year-long, detailed analysis of the whole Midlands economy, delivered by leading economists and academics, together with in-depth-insight from over 50 of our region’s businesses.

The IER is a powerful resource for Government, policy-makers, investors and wider stakeholders as we work together to address the challenges and progress the Midlands Engine’s important growth agenda.

The IER and its underpinning evidence base is supplemented by many stand-alone pieces of research, including:

  • An economic profile for each of the nine Midlands Engine Local Enterprise Partnership areas
  • Economic growth scenarios for the Midlands
  • An analysis of public sector funding across the Midlands
  • An overview of the forecast impact of Brexit on the Midlands
  • Qualitative study from interviews with Midlands Engine based businesses, on economic growth barriers and opportunities
  • A study on the rationale for pan-Midlands interventions

The economic context has changed considerably in the short time since the completion of this work. Our Covid-19 economic impact monitors and forthcoming State of the Region report which will be published at the end of 2020 will provide a further update to complement the IER, reflecting ongoing economic challenges.

State of the Region 2020

The State of the Region provides an update on the evidence base from the IER launched in April of this year and provides both a baseline position in terms of those main strategic outcomes lagging indicators and also the analysis from the more real time COVID-19 economic impact monitoring reports and the new economic dashboard which is produced to provide more real time analysis.

Covid-19 Economic Impact monitoring

Understanding the Midlands-scale impact of Covid-19 is critical as we plan for economic recovery. Work is underway right across our Partnership, led by our Observatory, to gather data, provide insights and monitor impacts. This work will underpin recovery planning across the Partnership.

Quarterly Economic Commentary

We produce a Quarterly Economic Commentary (QEC) reporting on a range of indicators of economic performance which give insights into the health of our regional economy. Each QEC brings together the latest economic performance data and what it means for the Midlands Engine, our partners, residents and business community.

Underpinning the QEC is a downloadable database of the latest economic statistics and information for the Midlands and its Local Enterprise Partnership areas. Each QEC focuses on the most recent data available, interpreted for our region.

Supporting Data and Research