A report released yesterday by the Trade Union Congress claims to show a two-speed recovery underway in the UK, with central London the only area returning to pre-recession levels of activity.

The report, titled Equitable Full Employment: A Jobs Recovery For All, looks at the number of people starting new jobs (rather than the traditional measure of people in employment) and found that these levels are still around 20% lower than before the financial crisis, and in some parts of the country are still falling despite several quarters of positive job growth figures. These numbers show that the economic recovery is not being entirely driven by jobs growth – in fact more people staying in their current jobs is bolstering the figures.

The only area of the country where job creation is exceeding pre-recession levels is central London. The rest of London, the South East and Eastern areas have somewhat recovered, but new job starts are still 11%, 16% and 21% below previous levels respectively. Apart from Tyne and Wear, the entire North East of England is experiencing falling job start numbers.

Taken as a whole, the report shows that there are huge sections of the UK, primarily rural areas, where job creation is actually falling.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s General Secretary, said:

“Many people assume that rising employment levels are simply down to more people getting new work. In fact, the recent recovery in our jobs market is mainly due to people holding onto their jobs, rather than finding new ones. This is great news if you want to keep earning as you approach retirement, but less positive if you’re trying to take your first step on the career ladder.

“Job creation is as important for people looking for work as it is for those already in work and looking to boost their incomes. It’s worrying that across huge swathes of the country – and particularly in rural areas – job creation levels remain depressed and that where jobs are being created far more are temporary positions than before the crash.

“We need to see far more high-quality jobs being created, not just in our cities but across the UK, if we’re going to achieve full employment and a return to healthy pay rises.”

You can find the full report here (PDF).

Photo by Jamie McCaffrey