Lancaster University

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Two nation labour market recovery continues – but with underlying signs of weakness

07/15/2011 00:00:00

Over the past year, around three quarters of all new jobs have been in Southern England, while the number of new jobs in Northern Britain shrank.

Elsewhere, the picture is mixed – the East Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland all saw strong job growth, but the West Midlands saw no increase in employment levels.

Ian Brinkley, Director of The Work Foundation, said:“The labour market continues to defy warnings about a double dip recession and overall job growth remains strong. But part-time and temporary jobs are now growing faster than full time and permanent work, a reversal of recent trends and a warning that the underlying strength of the jobs recovery is slackening.

He said it was worrying that this is still a two nation recovery with far more new jobs being created in Southern England than in the North. 

"The unemployment measures are moving in different directions: the number of people claiming benefits has gone up, but the number of people actively seeking jobs, using the more comprehensive international definition of unemployment, went down.

“It may be that we are seeing the first impact of the government’s attempts to move more people off longer term benefits onto Job Seekers Allowance. But it may also be an acceleration of job losses among those more likely to sign on for unemployment benefits, such as manual and administrative, clerical and sales workers.”

The Work Foundation, the leading independent authority on work and its future, was acquired by Lancaster University in 2010.