17.07.09

Number of Rural Jobseekers Almost Quadruples over Past Year

The number of people chasing jobs in rural areas has almost quadrupled in the last year. 

 Analysis of vacancies reported to jobcentres and numbers of unemployed claimants published by the Local Government Association (LGA), shows that there are nine jobseekers for every vacancy in urban areas, compared to six in the countryside. However, the number of people chasing every job has risen at a quicker rate in the countryside than in cities over the course of the last year.

The LGA’s research also shows that almost nine in ten councils in rural areas have seen an increase in empty shops in the last six months and of these almost two in three think it has had a significant or moderate impact on their town centres.

Commenting on the research, Cllr Margaret Eaton, Chairman of the LGA, said: ”It is deeply worrying for rural areas that the outlook for jobseekers in the countryside has deteriorated at a quicker rate than in the cities. The very special needs of the rural economy must not be overlooked as the recession continues to bite and unemployment continues to rise.

“Market towns and villages tend to much more reliant on the family-run independent businesses that can at particular risk of going under during tough financial times. The closure of a big chain such a Woolworths can have a much bigger knock-on effect in rural areas where there are many fewer alternatives to fill that vacant shop.

”From a shortage of affordable housing for local people to troubles in the farming industry in recent years, the rural economy has always had its own specific problems which are now being aggravated by the recession. Town halls are pulling out all the stops to help people and businesses in rural areas cope with tough times.

”The recession is affecting different parts of the country very differently and it is clear that a national, one size fits all approach to dealing with the recession simply isn’t going to work.”

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