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Birmingham Roars Out Of The Pandemic But London And Manchester Lag

Birmingham gets back to work by tram.

Birmingham is quickly becoming one of the most normal cities in Europe; Manchester is getting more normal, and London is as close to normal as it has been since November 2020.

England’s major metropolitan centres are gradually pulling out of lockdown and resuming their usual patterns of behaviour, according to Oxford EconomicsEuropean Cities Normality Tracker, just published.

The quixotic exercise models what a normal level of coronavirus infection, rates of mobility for work and shopping, and level of employment would have been in January 2020, then to judge how far major European cities meet this target today.

The data suggests that for UK cities, the recession is turning out to be U-shaped, rather than the V, W, K or L-shaped recessions some had foretold.

“London has partially recovered and is now as close to ‘normal’ as it was in November. However, it is currently still further from normality than most other UK cities,” the report said. “Birmingham continues to hold up better than most UK cities as a result of lower unemployment levels and the normality index in Manchester has now moved slightly above the European city average.”

London is returning to work by tube.

The Oxford Economics analysis produces a score for normality, where 100 means the city is back to normal, and anything close to 50 shows considerable abnormal disruption.

Birmingham is the only UK city to feature in the top 10, scoring 73.2 and placing it in 10th place behind regional capitals such as Valencia (top of the list) and the Danish tech hub of Aarhus (placed sixth).

Birmingham is also one of the most rapidly normalising cities. Since the last analysis it has improved by four points, some way behind the fastest improver (Prague) but ahead of Manchester and London and other UK cities including Glasgow, Cardiff Nottingham, and Liverpool.

All the Spanish and French cities analysed were above the European average for normality; Scandinavian cities were mostly below, and the least normal cities were in Poland or Bulgaria.