March Labour Market Update

Monthly Labour Market Briefing from Paul Swinney, with analysis of the impact of the recession three years on.

Briefing published on 16 March 2011 by Paul Swinney

It has now been three years since the economic downturn started to have an impact on unemployment in the UK. This period can be split into two phases. Phase one, between February 2008 and February 2010, saw a sharp increase in the claimant counts of many city economies followed by a degree of stabilisation.

Phase two on the other hand (from February 2010 to February 2011) witnessed a fall in the claimant counts of almost every UK city as the national economy began to recover from the recession. It is interesting to note the impact that these two phases have had on the ranking of cities in terms of their claimant counts.

Claimant count rankings February

Key points to note are:

• Hull has been unmoved at the top of this ranking over the three years. Not only did it enter the recession with the highest claimant count rate of all UK cities, it has also been hit hardest by the downturn in terms of the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.

• This has not been reflected by Liverpool, the city that had the highest claimant count rate in February 2008. It had a much smaller increase in the number of its claimants over the period, and now has the fifth highest claimant count rate overall.

• Glasgow and Rochdale are the only two cities that were not in the top ten at the start of the downturn but now find themselves there.

• Sunderland, Coventry and Newcastle have had the opposite experience. All three cities had some of the highest claimant count rates out of all UK cities at the beginning of 2008 but have since exited the top ten.