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New details of inter-regional unemployment

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The Office of National Statistics has released its first ever report into differences in unemployment rates within regions.

Local Area Labour Markets: Statistical Indicators July 2006 looks at unemployment rates within local authority areas and has found that differences within regions can be greater than differences between regions.

The gap between the highest and lowest unemployment rates in a region’s local authorities in 2005 was widest in London and the North West. The gap in both regions was 7.2 percentage points.

The local authority in London with the highest unemployment was Tower Hamlets (11.3 per cent) while Richmond-upon-Thames had the lowest (4.1 per cent). In the North West, unemployment rates ranged from 9.2 per cent in Liverpool to 2 per cent in Eden, Cumbria.

The region with the narrowest spread of unemployment rates was the South West, with 3.3 percentage points between Purbeck (2.1 per cent) and Plymouth (5.4 per cent).

At regional level, there was a difference of 3.7 percentage points between the lowest unemployment rate (South West, 3.4 per cent) and the highest unemployment rate (London, 7.1 per cent).

These unemployment data for local authorities are from a new source and are being published for the first time as national statistics.

ONS has developed a statistical model which takes unemployment estimates from the Annual Population Survey together with the claimant count to determine estimates which are acceptably precise for publication for all local authority areas.

The report, which will now be published quarterly, includes sections on economic inactivity, ethnicity and the labour market, the claimant count, and earnings by place of residence.

It brings together data from a number of sources – the Labour Force Survey and the Annual Population Survey, the Annual Business Inquiry, the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, and administrative data on benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions – to give an overall picture of the labour market looking at both labour supply and demand in each area.

The report is available at: www.statistics.gov.uk

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