The South West has 136,700 fewer jobs today than it did at the start of the
The South West has traditionally been heavily dependent on the public sector
for jobs: between 1999-2009 approximately 56% of all jobs were added in the
public sector. Since 2009, employment in the public sector has declined from
553,000 to 508,000.
Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire LEP
areas recorded the largest falls in the number of vacancies in September 2011,
40% to 44% fewer than in September 2007. The West of England LEP recorded the
smallest fall, at 20%. Falls in other LEP areas in the South West were closer
to the regional / UK average
(29%), Cornwall and Scilly (35%), Dorset (32%) and the Heart of the South West (31%).
In the South West, there are on average 3.6 Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
claimants for every job vacancy registered.
Currently those with no qualifications are almost four times as likely to be
unemployed as those with degree-level qualifications and competition for low
skilled work is most fierce.
The Coalition government has set out its fiscal plans for the current
parliamentary period to 2015-16. The fiscal retraction will lead to inevitable
job losses in the public sector. According to the latest estimates from the
Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) there will be a reduction of 310,000
general government jobs between 2010 – 2015, with a further 90,000 forecast for
The strongest growth in occupations has come from skilled agricultural trades,
caring personal service occupations, health and welfare associate professionals
and leisure and other personal service occupations.
Compared to other English regions, the South West is noteworthy for its
combination of low volume and low proportion of young people not in employment,
education or training (NEET), although Plymouth,
Bristol and Devon
have relatively large volumes and high rates of NEETs.
> The number of vacancies fluctuate from month to month but is currently
one-third lower than pre-recession levels. Some parts of the region have seen a
much greater contraction in vacancies than others.
Almost two-thirds of vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus were in low/unskilled
occupations. While high skill occupations comprised a relatively small
proportion of notified vacancies, they (along with personal service
occupations) were the only to record an increase over the past four years.
Research for the FT found that over half (57%) of private sector businesses
were unwilling to take on redundant public sector workers. 52% of these
believed they were ‘not up to the job’. Research by Badenoch & Clark
(October 2010) found that more than half of public sector workers (56%) feared
they lacked the appropriate skills to do so. This also found that workers from
local government were the most concerned that their skills would not help them
get a job in the private sector.
The effects of recession have made it much harder for young people to establish
themselves in the labour market – although unemployment among 16-24 year olds
has fallen in the last year to 14.7% (and is lower than the England average)
this remains well above the overall unemployment rate for the working age