The areas of Britain where traditional manufacturing is most prevalent are among the hardest hit in terms of job losses now that the downturn has steepest in gradient.
The likes of Birmingham, Sheffield, Hull and Glasgow – the economies of which remain strongly reliant on manufacturing industries – were all in the top 10 list of cities where the number of unemployment benefit claimants has risen.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics for the year to February show Birmingham has seen the biggest increase; 7.3% (45,657) of eligible people there are now claiming jobseekers as opposed to 3.3% (33,274) a year before.
Naomi Clayton, analyst for The Work Foundation, said because of the very nature of the economy in such places, it was inevitable they would be the hardest hit. “Places in the eye of the storm as job losses mount are the UK’s core cities and areas associated with traditional manufacturing – places which in many cases had yet to recover fully from previous recessions before this one set in,” she said.
Other areas to experience big rises include Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Wear Valley and Blaenau Gwent.
The worst hit regions for total unemployment remain the North East and North West of England at 8.6% and 7.7% respectively. London is close behind on 7.5%. The UK average is 6.5% and the unemployed now number over two million – a figure last surpassed in 1997.