THE creative and digital economy in York has shown strong growth, according to new figures.

Data from the Business Register and Employment Survey show rapid growth in the sector in the city which has seen 18.4 per cent growth between 2011 and 2012, more than five times the national average over the same period which was 3.2 per cent. This growth helped to create 580 new jobs in the city.

Statistics also showed the fastest growing subsectors in the city have been in software publishing, computer programming, computer consultancy, advertising agencies and media representation.

Coun James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “These statistics further demonstrate York’s growth as a city and the creative opportunities that are available for businesses. It is pleasing to see the partnership work with businesses, Science City York and the universities demonstrating a real impact on jobs in the city.

“This is a great foundation to build on, and we are constantly striving to improve and capitalise on this growth. An example of this is our bid to become an UNESCO Media Arts City as well as the development of a digital media arts centre in York further highlighting our ambition.”

The Distance, based on the University of York campus, is a creative digital agency specialising in e-commerce, mobile applications and digital marketing.

The company won the New Business of the Year award at The Press Business Awards in 2012..

Anthony Main, co-founder, said: “Having our office within the university campus has been beneficial from the outset. It has provided us with the opportunity to interact with a wealth of other small businesses and projects.

“In order to encourage growth into the emerging mobile industry, we are coordinating with the university’s careers department to run an app challenge event.”