More than 100,000 jobs lost in South West since start of the recession

More than 100,000 jobs have been lost in the South West since employment peaked in the third quarter of 2007, according to research released by the Trades Union Congress.

The number of jobs in the region has fallen by 4 per cent, from 2,719,400 in the third quarter of 2007 to 2,615,000 in the first quarter of 2010 – a loss of 104,400 jobs in total across the South West.

Analysis of Office for National Statistics figures shows employment in the South West peaked ahead of the UK as a whole – meaning the region was hit by job losses six months earlier than the rest of the country.

The analysis, carried out by the TUC, shows a million jobs have been lost across the UK as a whole, thanks to the recession.

UK employment fell by 3 per cent, from 31.78 million in the UK employment peak of the second quarter of 2008 to 30.77 million in the first quarter of 2010. The worst affected industries across the UK as a whole are mining and quarrying (-15 per cent), manufacturing (-12 per cent) and construction (-11 per cent).

The TUC analysis shows if the private sector continues to create jobs at the same rate that it has over the last 10 years, it is likely to take 14 years for UK employment levels to those before the recession struck.

In some regions, such as the North West, it will take more than two decades to make up for the jobs lost in the recession and those to come from public spending cuts. For the South West, the analysis shows it will take at least 11 years for the private sector to return job levels to pre-recession levels.

South West figures

Since the South West employment peak of Q3 2007, the worst affected industries are: construction (-24 per cent); transport & storage (-13 per cent); accommodation & food services (-11 per cent); professional/science (-11 per cent); finance and insurance (-10 per cent).

It’s not all bad news: the number of jobs in agriculture, forestry & fishing has increased by 52 per cent since Q3 2007; water supply (+35 per cent); arts and entertainment (+14 per cent); and by 6 per cent each in admin & support services, public administration and real estate.

But overall there’s been a drop of 4 per cent since the region’s employment peak of Q3 2007.

It will take at least 11 years for the private sector to create enough jobs to return employment levels in the region to pre-recession levels, based on the private sector’s growth rate of the last 10 years.

South West TUC Regional Secretary Nigel Costley said: ‘These figures show how bad the recession has hit the South West. Behind the big numbers are countless personal stories of upset and loss.

‘Valuable skills and experience have gone, good firms have suffered. But we fear worse to come given the savage nature of the cuts that are coming. For every public sector job lost there will be even more gone in the private sector.’

Other findings of the TUC analysis include:

There is a clear north-south divide in the decline in the number of jobs. Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North West and the West Midlands have had the biggest falls in employment (-4 per cent) since Q2 2008.

The South West has seen a -3 per cent fall in employment since Q2 2008 – but when the region’s employment peak of Q3 2007 is taken into account, the figures show it has suffered the same rate of job losses (-4 per cent) as the worst performing regions.

The national figures would be far worse were it not for the growth of public sector employment since 2008, particularly in education (+4 per cent) and health and social work (+6 per cent).

Source: TUC

Public Sector Job Losses in South West

The following press release from TUC South West was released in March 2012.


One in 14 public sector workers in the South West lost their jobs between July and September last year, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.

A total of 37,000 workers – at seven per cent, the largest fall in the country – of those employed in the region by local government, the police, the forces and the NHS lost their jobs.

Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary of the South West TUC, said: ‘All across our region public sector jobs are disappearing in droves as local councils, government agencies and the health service are forced to cut services to the core as the Chancellor’s austerity measures hit hard.

‘More than 37,000 public sector workers in the South West have now lost their jobs at a time when finding work has never been harder.

‘Behind every job loss is not just the job consequences but the loss of valuable public services.

‘Ministers must see that their economic policies are doing huge harm, and with more spending cuts coming down the track and the recovery still weak, thousands more public servants will soon be swelling the ranks of the unemployed.

‘A change of direction which has jobs and growth at its heart is now long overdue.’


This is devastating enough but when you take this together with the results of a recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey of 1,000 employers it gets even worse. It highlights that the governments assurances that the private sector would “fill the hole” made by all the public sector cuts is simply proving to be be pure fantasy without a growth strategy.

The survey showed that a third of private sector employers had kept on more staff than they needed to avoid losing skills.

But almost two-thirds said they would have to cut back if economic growth did not pick up in the next year.

“Recent falls in unemployment suggest that the labour market is on a sound footing, but a closer examination reveals that many employers are holding on to more staff than is required by the current level of demand in order to retain their skills,” said report author Gerwyn Davies.

“This is a make or break moment for employers – unless growth picks up many will find that they cannot hold on to some workers any longer.

“The tenacity with which employers are hanging on to skilled labour is a reflection of the high value they place on it and the damage they fear will be done to their businesses if they are forced to start making more redundancies.”

The survey also showed that public sector organisations were predicting average pay rises of 0.2%, compared with 2.5% in the private sector.

Source: BBC