UK Unemployment: Map Reveals Divide In UK Jobs Market
The geography of the UK's job market has been mapped by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), showing the employment rates and densities in the public and private sector.
The maps show that private sector employment is clustered in a few key areas, such as the south east of England and the North Sea oil port of Aberdeen. The north of England, the Midlands and Wales, show low private sector job densities.
Public sector jobs are more evenly spread, due to the universal provision of health and education services, but some areas show a greater reliance on the public sector. Almost all of the local authorities in Wales have private sector employment rates that are below the UK average and public sector employment rates that are above it.
Scotland also has higher public sector employment rates in most of its local authorities than the rest of the UK.
With the country's jobless rate now hitting 15-year highs, research is showing that the effects of the economic crisis and recession have been felt differently across the country. A report earlier in November from the Work Foundation showed that youth unemployment was more acute in post-industrial towns in the North, which had already been struggling to replace jobs lost in the last recession. That report's findings are roughly analogous to those of the ONS.
Those regions lost out due to a decline in private sector employment, but public sector cutbacks that affect frontline and administrative services may mean that areas already reliant on local government for jobs may now be more vulnerable.
The government has made attempts to stimulate regional economies through the Regional Development Fund and other initiatives. While there have been some small headline-grabbing wins for industry, such as Jaguar Land Rover's creation of 1,000 new jobs in Solihull in November, the announcements to the contrary - including Wednesday's announcement that Rio Tinto would close its Lynemouth, Northumberland plant with the loss of 500 jobs - are adding up.
Some experts have warned that the economy will need a dramatic restructuring if it is going to return to growth and job creation in the absence of public spending and cheap credit. As Tim Morgan, global head of research at Tullet Prebon said on Thursday:
"The two driving factors have been borrowing by the general public and higher spending by the government. A series of industries profited. Construction, retail and financial services profited from the private borrowing; health, education and public administration profited from public spending."
In the absence of those factors, Morgan said, "you have 70% of the economy that can't grow."