Measuring Resilience

In measuring regional economic resilience there are many economic indicators that can be measured, amongst others these include employment, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross Value Added (GVA).   This data can be used to track positive or negative deviations from a regional trend and monitor the time it takes to return to a similar position.  This can then signify whether a recession has indeed occurred, the impact on the region and its duration.

What is striking in this emerging field is the breadth of debate focusing on utilising the correct indices and measurement methods.  Factors such as regional policy must also been considered, this is particularly pertinent with the advent of ‘Zero Hour’ contracts since the beginning of the most recent recession.  This has led to the question of whether employment is the right measure to consider resilience or whether unemployment figures may be more important.  Disposable income and participation rates are also considered interesting factors to introduce to the analysis in order to establish an extensive ‘picture’ of the economy.

As part of the ECR2 project, these factors have been further explored through the mapping of regional data across Europe, highlighting trends in activity.  Alongside other economic measurements, the important role of the perception of the crisis has been shown, with the data in many regions depicting a different situation to what is believed to be the case.  In most instances, the presumption is that the scenario is worse than the reality; elements such as the media can be considered as contributing towards this.

This extensive mapping and economic analysis undertaken by the ECR2 project has explored the recession and its effects on UK and EU regions.  This analysis is unique in the fact that it uses variable business cycles dates for regions, rather than fixed dates of recession as has occurred previously.  This reflects when the region truly entered and exited the recession.  The analysis has shown that regions throughout the UK and EU have had a unique response to this and previous recessions.  Interestingly, this analysis has highlighted that some regions that may have been largely un-resilient for previous recessions were more resilient for the 2008 recession and vice versa.