Business leaders and politicians say they are “confused” by a report which suggests more than 7,000 private sector jobs were lost in Northampton between 2010 and 2012.
The study from think-tank The Centre for Cities said 7,100 jobs were lost in the two-year period, making Northampton the fourth-worst performing place in England, out of 63 towns and cities.
The town was also ranked 62nd out of 63 for private sector employment growth, with jobs falling from 96,700 in 2011 to 90,900 in 2012.
But confusingly, Northampton was also listed as the ninth-best performing place for business start-up rates in 2012, and it also had the lowest number of business closures in the top 10.
Northampton Borough Council said it had identified a mistake in the report, and believes “one large employer” moving its mailing address out of town had skewed the figures. The council said it could not name the employer in question for data protection reasons.
The authority said only 487 people joined the unemployment register in the two-year period, and jobless numbers had since has fallen by 1,429. It also said there were 5,000 more economically active people in September 2013 than at the end of 2010.
Council leader, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “The report makes confusing reading. It is wrong to state that private sector jobs reduced so massively.
“In 2012 we launched Northampton Alive and the Waterside Enterprise Zone. Our goal was to create an environment that would show our town was open for business.
“We have seen more than £100 million invested in our town. It is still a challenging economic environment, but we are working hard to support our business community and make sure Northampton is in the best position to attract new investment.”
The report detailed how much of the UK’s economy was centred around London and the South East. The Centre for Cities said 216,700 jobs were created in the capital from 2010 to 2012.