The East of England economy is showing signs of beginning to turn the corner as economic growth improves and activity rates remain high according the new Quarterly Economic Update from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Headlines from this month's update are:


  • Evidence shows improved growth in the region over the last quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2006 with manufacturing and the service sector leading the way.
  • The housing market continues to cool down quicker than other areas of the country except for specific hotspots created by good schools, quality of life issues and transport links
  • Unemployment rose from an average of four per cent in the third quarter of 2005 to 4.5% in the last quarter of 2005
  • High fuel prices may mean less investment for and hinder the growth of the region's energy intensive sectors.

    The first economic report of the year to come from EEDA's Policy team also includes an analysis of economic activity rates broken down to a county level and also a focus on the productivity of the region's cities.

    David Marlow, chief executive of EEDA, said: 'Looking at some of the figures detailed in the report it would be easy to be slightly confused by what the data is telling us. In one instance growth is improving because of the performance and diversification of the manufacturing sector but on the other unemployment rose because of redundancies in the same sector.

    'However there is a sense that we have reached the end of an economic trough as growth and innovation are increasing while the fall in employment and housing prices is no longer as high as earlier in 2005. It may be too early to say we have definitely turned the corner but I think the signs are good for 2006.'

    The Quarterly Economic Update is available online at: