Key sectors in Suffolk economy are knowledge, food and drink manufacturing, biotechnology, IT renewable energy and tourism.
Jobs in the knowledge economy have grown in the last 5 years to 58,000. The knowledge sector covers aerospace, electrical machinery and equipment, printing, publishing and recorded media, chemicals, energy, telecommunications, ICT, research and development, finance and business services, air transport services, recreational and cultural services. The financial and business services are important in Ipswich, while the telecommunications and energy are very important in Suffolk Coastal. IT accounts for about 3,000 jobs in Suffolk.
Jobs in the food industry are beginning to grow; many of these are small specialist businesses specializing in high quality food and drink products. These businesses also attract tourists to the area. More information about food and drink manufacturing can be found here.
Suffolk is in the top 25% of counties in terms of employment in the biotechnology sector. This is particularly concentrated in the Waveney, Suffolk Coastal, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury.
There are over 6,000 jobs in the tourism sector, with numbers remaining steady over the last few years and prospects are reported to be good as more people are expected to holiday at home and foreign visitors expected to come due to an attractive exchange rate.
The energy sector is predicted to grow considerably in the next ten years. Up to 160,000 jobs need to be created in the UK is to meet the EU target of 20% of energy being obtained from renewable energy by 2020. The major development in the energy sector has been the opening of the Orbis Business centre in Lowestoft. The decommissioning of Sizewell A nuclear power plant is also a source of new jobs.
Low carbon and environmental goods and services is one of the few areas expected to grow during the recession. This includes 3 main areas:
- solutions to noise, air and marine pollution, waste management and consultancy, land and water contamination
- renewable energy technologies
- emerging low carbon activities: nuclear energy, reduced emissions from transport and construction
There are 10,000 jobs in Suffolk with another 4,500 and another 180 companies being created during the next 8 years.
Manufacturing prospects are continuing to improve, the August 2010 index of manufacturing improved by 5 points on the same time in 2009.
Retail sales have also strengthened in recent months.
(Source:Suffolk Trends 2008 - Suffolk County Council)