Response to statistics used in Adonis Review

Centre for Cities provides a methodology statement regarding the source of statistics cited by the Adonis Growth Review.

Press release published on 3 July 2014

What does the Centre for Cities statistic used in the Adonis Review show?

The statistic shows that London contributed 80 per cent of all net private sector jobs created between 2010 and 2012. The reason that the data only goes up to 2012 is that this is the only publicly available source of data at city-level for workplace jobs. The Labour Force Survey and Annual Population Survey, for example, can only talk about regional statistics, and as the Centre for Cities we focus on cities data.

Our focus on cities rather than regions also means that the statistic on London is for the Primary Urban Area (a definition of cities used by CLG) and includes 46 rather than 33 local authorities. All definitions are set out clearly in the Cities Outlook report.

Why use the Business Register and Employment Survey over the Annual Population Survey or the Labour Force Survey?

No dataset is perfect and each has its limitations. There are two reasons the Centre for Cities uses the BRES data:

–          It is the most up-to-date publicly available source of data at city-level for workplace jobs. The 2013 BRES data has not yet been published and as soon as it is (in the autumn), we will look again at the statistics.

–          It is workplace-based data rather than resident-based. This means that jobs are recorded based on where someone works, rather than where someone lives. For example, in resident-based jobs data, a person who lives in St Albans would be classed as employed in their home town of St Albans, even if their job was actually in London.

Is the data two years out of date?

No – it is the most up to date workplace dataset for cities – and cities analysis is what the Centre for Cities focuses upon. The 2013 BRES data has not yet been published. Other datasets can give more up to date information on regional jobs (for example, the APS and LFS datasets are published quarterly) and this is what many others have cited, looking at the regional rather than cities picture. The Centre for Cities work has been very clear that this analysis covers 2010-2012.

Why do you use a different public sector job definition to the ONS?

Centre for Cities analysis uses a different definition – based on sectors of work – of public and private sector to that used by the ONS.

For instance, the official figures count universities and further education colleges as private sector bodies and GPs as private sector jobs. However, our Cities Outlook analysis was looking at jobs as a result of private sector decision making. Since these institutions are most affected by public policy decisions (for example, on average 76% of FE college income is from government for 16-18 and post 19 courses and on average 95% of GPs’ income is from the NHS), we included them in the definition of the public sector.

In addition, this approach filters out reclassifications that could distort the data over the short time period we looked at, 2010 – 2012, such as when jobs in sixth-form colleges were moved from the public to the private sector in 2012 (affecting around 200,000 employees).

This is not perfect, but gives the clearest possible picture of how private sector-led decisions are affecting employment in UK cities and our Cities Outlook report sets out clearly that this is the approach we used.

For further questions and comment contact Sophie Gaston.