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Just seven percent of new UK jobs created in the north west

Date published: 29 November 2018


Just seven percent of new UK jobs created in the last decade were based in the north west, new figures show.

The BBC Shared Data Unit has looked at data from Nomis, the official labour market statistics service provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to see which parts of the UK have benefited most from the new jobs, and which parts have been left behind.

The number of people in work across the UK has been rising steadily over the last decade and the UK Government has said three million more jobs have been created since 2010.

Following the 2018 Budget, Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, spoke of a “real jobs miracle in this country.”

However, a clear north-south divide is still present as the top three regions for highest average gross weekly wages for full-time workers were all based in the south: London, the South East and East England.

182,600 jobs were added in the north west between 2007 and 2017, just 7% of the total jobs created across the UK. By comparison, 945,100 jobs created in the same period were in London – 34% of the UK total.

The north west makes up 11% of the UK population, which grew by 5% over the ten-year period: for the same timeframe, London’s resident population grew by 15% and the number of workers rose by more than a quarter (26%).

Despite this, total unemployment in the north west fell to 1.36 million in August 2018, the lowest figure for more than 40 years.

Ronald MacQuaid, a professor of work and employment at the University of Stirling, commented: “I do think the UK is far too centralised. Jobs, departments and decision-making is too centralised. A lot of investment decisions had unintended consequences. The development of Heathrow, for example, hands a big advantage to West London.  Crossrail is another example.

“Everywhere outside of London and the South East is facing similar problems. The collapse of manufacturing employment has been a continuous concern over the last 30 years. The problem is we’ve not had manufacturing output maintained at the same level.”

Naomi Clayton, policy and research manager at the Centre for Cities, which researches the economies of the UK’s largest urban areas, added: “Other cities and towns are still struggling with years of economic decline. Many places have seen much slower economic recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and many of the trends are self-reinforcing.

“The biggest cities outside of London are important in the economic role they play, but many of them are punching below their weight.

“Policy does need to find ways that we can support cities like Birmingham and Manchester to provide more jobs and growth. When we look at a range of economic data - whether we look at productivity, wages, a whole range of economic indicators, a lot of our core cities perform below our national average and less well than their European counterparts.”

A spokesperson for the UK Government said: “Since 2010, employment has risen in every region of the UK with 3.3 million new jobs, 90% of which were filled by UK nationals and three quarters were in permanent, full-time and high skilled roles.

“We are committed to boosting local growth outside of London which is why we have invested half a billion pounds into the Northern Powerhouse.”

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