The number of dole claimants outnumber job vacancies by five to one, showing the employment market remains “bleak”, according to a new report.
The TUC said an analysis of jobseekers allowance (JSA) claimants and vacancies revealed a clear North-South divide in the availability of jobs.
The study showed that despite the recent economic recovery the number of JSA claimants increased in half of all local authority areas in the year to April, while the number of vacancies fell in nearly 50 local authority areas.
London was the worst-hit area with nearly eight JSA claimants for every job vacancy. Seven of the top ten unemployment blackspots were in the capital, including Hackney where claimants outnumber vacancies by a “shocking” 24 to 1.
The City of London was the only local authority area in Britain where the number of vacancies outnumbered the number of dole claimants, said the report, published ahead of new unemployment figures tomorrow.
Scotland, the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber all had six dole claimants for every vacancy, compared with around four in the South, the research showed.
The TUC said the latest unemployment figures were expected to confirm that while the economy continued to move slowly out of recession, unemployment was still rising.
With the emergency Budget looming, the TUC said it was concerned that deep cuts in public spending will put hundreds of thousands of additional workers on the dole and hit private businesses who sell services to the public sector.
The TUC called on the Government to put tackling unemployment at the top of its priority list and not to put the economic recovery at risk with deep spending cuts it warned could send the country back into recession.
General secretary Brendan Barber said: “While the economy is slowly emerging from recession, the jobs outlook for millions of people is still bleak.
“Our chances of economic recovery are blighted by unemployment blackspots across the country where dole claimants outnumber jobs by 15 to 1. Unless they are able to get back to work, the benefits bill and the deficit will continue to rise.
“The Government has already failed in its fairness pledge by focusing spending cuts on the poorest neighbourhoods. These areas need investment to get local businesses flourishing and people working again. The last thing they need is a huge spending axe.
“People will be looking to the Chancellor on emergency Budget day to show he understands the UK’s unemployment crisis. Further cuts that fail the fairness test will suggest the crisis is being ignored.”