More than 20,000 private sector jobs have been created in South Yorkshire over the last two years - bucking national economic gloom.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show the number of private sector jobs grew by 7,140 to 182,983 in Sheffield between mid-2010 and mid-2012 - an increase of four per cent.
The same growth was recorded in Doncaster, where the number of private sector workers rose by 3,565 to 89,007 in the same period.
Even bigger increases of five per cent were recorded in Barnsley, with private employment rising by 3,331 to 74,954, and eight per cent in Rotherham, where private sector employment rose 6,415 to 86,625.
Private sector employment fell in other parts of the region, including Leeds where there was a three per cent fall from 2010 to 2012.
The news was given a cautious welcome by Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.
He said: “Sheffield has already moved up to fourth in the country for the number of start-up businesses and that has to have had some effect.
“I believe the region’s economy is strong because we have growing sectors of industry - and apprenticeships are having an impact.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg added: “I’m pleased these latest figures show we are making progress.
“Borrowing more than we could afford has hit the public sector. Therefore we must continue with our efforts to create sustainable jobs in the private sector.”
Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett, whose constituency has the 11th worst employment in the UK, said: “Any job is very welcome, although many are part time and the £173m a year Sheffield is losing in benefit cuts is bound to have an effect on economic activity.”
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said: “All new jobs are welcome but the overall position remains bleak.
“George Osborne’s austerity plan has killed growth.”