Since the financial crisis of 2008, South Yorkshire and Merseyside have recorded the strongest levels of job growth.
In a recent report conducted and published by Resolution Foundation, they found that the rise in the national employment rate to 75.7%, is the highest level on record, and has been driven by comparatively low-employment areas of the UK “catching up” over the past decade.
Around 2.7m jobs have been created since the financial crisis, outstripping many major European economies where unemployment rates remain high.
While London is often considered the hub of job creation, the thinktank’s report found that the biggest regional increase in employment rate in the last ten years was in South Yorkshire. Employment rose by 6.5 percentage points to 71.7% in the region, which contains Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley.
Dan Jarvis, the Labour mayor of the Sheffield city region, suggested that investment from global manufactures such as Boeing and McLaren Automotive were main contributors to the increase in job opportunities.
Speaking to The Guardian he said: “Investment to attract global manufacturers like Boeing and McLaren Automotive to the region is paying off.”
Despite Merseyside – comprising of the city of Liverpool and the surrounding metropolitan boroughs of Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton and St Helens – still lagging the national employment rate average, it reordered the second-biggest rise. In the past decade the region saw an increase of 6.4 percentage points, yet remains one of the lowest employment areas in the country with an average of less than 69.3%
Though the report found growth, the divide between metropolitan Britain and the rest of the country is still high, with many rural areas and second-tier towns failing to keep pace. Yorkshire, excluding its biggest cities, recorded a decline in its employment rate of 0.6 percentage points.
Stephen Clarke, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “While the jobs surge has not been as dominated by London or low-paid work as some claim, new challenges have developed – particularly for younger workers and with a big rise in insecure work. While more people are working, as a country we are still earning less each week for doing so than we were 10 years ago.”
While the Resolution Foundation found that growing numbers of low-income households and disadvantaged groups had been helped into work, it warned that job insecurity had risen, in particular for younger workers due to the increase in zero-hour contracts. Employment on zero-hours contracts and in agency work has also risen 50% faster for 18- to 29-year-olds than the rest of the population. There are still 780,000 workers in Britain without the guarantee of fixed hours, a further 950,000 agency workers, while one in seven workers are self-employed. All these more precarious working roles are significantly above pre-crisis levels.