A curious finding, that should perhaps trouble those who casually think that Midlands job creation only really happens in cities and that the countryside is in a spiral of decline. The latest Staffordshire Economic Bulletin finds that between 2003 and 2008 urban parts lost 12,000 jobs, while the rural parts of the county added 13,000 jobs. Sectors with strong jobs growth were tourism, building and environmental technologies, professional services and digital media. Possibly some of that rural growth is a result of the way the ‘downshifters’ moved from London and the South East at the height of the house price boom, to more leafy and broadband-friendly climes that were still within easy rail-travel distance from the capital. As I wrote here in 2004…

“Friends & acquaintances keep telling me they’re soon to move out to rural areas, priced out or cashing-out of the cities. “

And at the end of 2003 research from the Prudential estimated that 1.4 million people had already downshifted in the UK, while Datamonitor was forecasting 3.7 million downshifters per year by 2007.