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Ian Brinkley
Economic Advisor
Ian Brinkley

A Two Nation Recovery

Authors: Ian Brinkley Ian Brinkley

13 July 2011

The labour market recovery still defies dire warnings of an imminent double dip recession. The latest figures show a further increase in employment of 50,000 comparing the three months March-May 2011with the previous three months. This takes the job creation total over the past year to over 300,000.

What is most striking however is how little some parts of the country have benefitted from the jobs recovery. The quarterly figures are not a reliable guide to underlying trends at the regional level, so we have to look at changes over the twelve months to March-May 2011.

In Southern England (London, the South East, South West, Eastern) employment over the 12 months went up by 233,000. But in Northern England (the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humberside) employment went down by 74,000. In contrast, employment growth in Scotland was strong with 55,000 new jobs over the year.

In the rest of the UK the picture was mixed. Wales, the East Midlands and Northern Ireland all recorded above average job growth. But in the West Midlands, employment went down.

The resources currently available for regional development are clearly less generous than in the past, and the new initiatives such as Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Regional Growth Fund have still to prove whether they will be more effective than previous arrangements.

It will be interesting to see if the contrasting fortunes of Northern England and Scotland continue – and how much of that difference can be attributed to the retention of strong regional institutions north of the border.

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