Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Massive regional variation in unemployment

The labour market statistics published today by the Office for National Statistics continue to show the massive regional variation that has become a familiar feature of this recession.

As the UK climbs out of recession the benefit in terms of jobs is largely experienced in the South East. The disparity between the South East and the rest of the country grows. Unemployment is almost twice as high in the North East.

The unemployment rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (10.3%) and lowest in the Sout East of England (5.9%).

The Claimant Count rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (6.5%) and lowest in the South East (2.4%).

Another familiar feature is the large numbers working part-time or with temporary employment. 

The increase in employment is welcome news and another indication that the UK is edging out of recession. But there is a caveat, and it is again the regional disparity. The increased employment is largely in the South East. And there is a regional  disparity in the unemployment rate. Unemployment in the North West increased. Unemployment in the North East and the Midlands remains high with little change. Economic activity in these regions has not picked up and growth is patchy.

The feel good factor isn't yet reaching most parts of the United Kingdom, as these figures represent a growing national divide in potential opportunities and  living standards.

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