Work Local: labour market analysis

Wilson T, Williams M  |   | Institute for Employment Studies  | May 2022

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This paper, produced as part of the Local Government Association’s ‘Work Local’ programme, sets out analysis of differences between local labour markets in England. The analysis uses the Annual Population Survey alongside real-time vacancy data supplied for this project by Adzuna, one of the largest jobsearch engines in the UK.

The analysis shows that labour market changes are not being felt equally across the country. For example even as vacancies hit record levels, in one third of the country there are still more than twice as many jobseekers as there are job openings, leaving residents at risk of long-term unemployment and poverty. However, at the same time in two fifths of areas there are now more vacancies than there are unemployed – making it even harder for employers to fill jobs, holding back growth, and potentially contributing to even higher inflation.

By further categorising places according to their rates of labour force participation and of vacancies, the analysis finds a diversity of experiences across the country but also some common themes and patterns. For example many coastal and ex-industrial areas face lower participation and fewer vacancies, many towns and cities have strong demand but relatively low participation, and some more prosperous areas particularly in southern England (outside of London) are enjoying both high participation and high vacancies. These differences reflect different local economies, local needs, workforce skills and industrial bases. Looking ahead, the analysis also finds that areas that have historically been more disadvantaged appear to be at greater risk of falling further behind, while areas with stronger economies appear to be better set to benefit from future growth.

So just as a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work in meeting these challenges; neither would a two, three, four or even five sized model. Public policy and services to be able to understand and respond differently to the needs of local business, residents and communities.