How many jobs are there in Warwickshire per person?

One measure of the local labour market is jobs density. Jobs density is defined as the number of jobs in an area divided by the resident population aged 16-64 in that area. For example, a job density of 1.0 would mean that there is one job for every resident aged 16-64.   

According to the latest estimates for 2010, published last week by the Office for National Statistics via Nomis, Warwickshire has a jobs density of 0.85.  This means there are 0.85 jobs for every person aged 16 to 64 living in the county.  By way of comparison, the Great Britain figure is 0.77 and the West Midlands region has an average of 0.75.

There are some really striking differences within the county.  North Warwickshire has a jobs density of 1.03, meaning there are more jobs in the borough then there are people aged 16 to 64.  In contrast, neighbouring Nuneaton & Bedworth has a jobs density of just 0.57, which can be translated as almost one job per two working-age adults. North Warwickshire has the 17th highest jobs density figure of all 348 local authority areas across England and Wales.  Nuneaton & Bedworth has the 40th lowest.

Click on the graph to see the detail.

One of the key reasons for the high figure in North Warwickshire is the location of large employment sites such as Hams Hall and Birch Coppice within the borough.  This of course doesn’t mean that the jobs located here are necessarily taken by people living in the borough, and the latest unemployment figures demonstrate that North Warwickshire has a Jobseekers Allowance claimant rate in line with the county average.  When the 2011 Census results start being released we will see to what extent there is commuting in and out of different parts of the county. 

Of course, a high jobs density figure should be regarded as positive news – it indicates the availability of employment opportunities in an area – but the other factor to consider is the quality of jobs available in a given area; if a significant proportion of the available jobs are low paid / low skilled or part-time then a jobs density figure of 1 or more may not necessarily be great news, and may prompt local residents to look further afield for work.

The relationship between jobs density and employment / unemployment rates is explored further in the table below.  It illustrates that there isn’t necessarily a strong correlation between jobs density (jobs per person) and employment in an area, due in part to the commuting trends both in and out of the county mentioned earlier.

Areas with a high jobs density but low employment / high unemployment means high labour demand within the area is not being satisfied by residents.  This might reflect a gap in the availabilty of certain skills within an area.  The outcome is that the imbalance between supply and demand is met by high levels of in-commuting.  Conversely, areas with a low jobs density but high employment / low unemployment reflects higher levels of out-commuting from an area.

Looking at trends over time, the graph below illustrates how these figures have changed (or not) over the past decade.  What is most striking is the increase in North Warwickshire, particularly in the years preceding the economic downturn.

There is a bit of a lag in these figures being published.  The latest figures are dated 2010, so the full impact of the recession had not yet been felt.  It will be interesting to see how the job density figures have changed more recently.

We’d be interested to hear any further insight you might have – please use the comments box below.

3 Responses

  1. I mentioned pretty much the same thing in the District/Borough Local Economic Assessments published last year (https://warksobservatory.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/districtborough-lea-summaries-published/) North Warwickshire has the second highest GVA in the County behind Warwick District and both are in the top 20% nationally (albeit 2007 figures so not taking into account the impact of the recession). One of the ways to explain that was through a consideration of the employment rate, commuting etc.

    Like you say, although North Warwickshire has on the surface more jobs than residents, do the residents of North Warwickshire have the right skills to fill those jobs or has the in-commuting ratio increased since those big employment sites were built, bringing higher skilled employees in from outside the Borough? Looking at qualification levels of North Warwickshire residents would seemingly back this up although these sites and the transport sector more generally is relatively ‘mid-table’ in terms of productivity and employs a mix of high and low skilled jobs (particular companies within these sites are more productive and ‘high value’ than others for example, BMW engine plant).

    Be interesting to see the commuting patterns when the 2011 Census figures are released next year!

  2. Good stuff, thanks.

  3. […] looked at job density figures this time last year (see previous blog article), however, last week the Office for National Statistics released 2011 figures […]

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