Industrial heartlands suffering most from recession

14-04-2009

Industrial heartlands suffering most from recession
Cities in the Midlands, the north of England, Scotland and Wales that have yet to recover from previous recessions are suffering the most in the current downturn, research has shown.

Despite the current crisis being seen as a problem emanating from the City, analysis of official figures shows the largest increases in jobseekers' allowance (JSA) have been felt in Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Sheffield.

In Birmingham, 12,383 more people began claiming JSA between February 2008 and 2009, the Work Foundation said on Tuesday.

The sharpest increases meanwhile were felt again in the Midlands, the north and north-east of England, and Wales, with Wear Valley and Blaenau Gwent top of the list.

Naomi Clayton, the foundation's senior researcher, said all the cities named in today's research were in the "eye of the storm" from previous recessions they are yet to recover from.

"In terms of absolute numbers of new people signing on for JSA, it is the core cities of the north and midlands that are worst hit," she said.

"Perhaps more revealing, though, are the council areas that have seen the sharpest upward movements in unemployment rates. These tell a story of a more traditional UK recession: some areas which had yet to experience the economic prosperity enjoyed by others are once more showing how vulnerable they are to downturns, especially if dependent on single employers."

The Work Foundation is calling for regional specific measures to be introduced in next week's Budget.

"Policymakers ignore how recessions play out locally at their peril. It is to be hoped that the forthcoming budget focuses much more attention on the large cities - Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham - that can drive the recovery, as well as recognising which areas need the most support to survive and prepare for better times," Ms Clayton said.

Unemployment hit two million last month for the first time under New Labour. Analysts expect the total number of jobless to exceed three million this year before levelling off and eventually falling.

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