Regional unemployment: West Country woes

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The worldwide wobble

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Regional unemployment


Why unemployment in the South West is a good sign for the broader economy



PITY south-west England—thrashed by storms that have demolished a railway line and, even before that, by a deteriorating economy. Unemployment rates have fallen almost everywhere in Britain over the past year. The South West is the main exception (see map).
The government’s austerity measures are not to blame. The South West lost just 1% of its public-sector jobs in the year to the third quarter of 2013. Other regions have lost proportionately more, yet have seen unemployment fall as private-sector hiring picks up. Nor are big firms ailing out west: many businesses along the M4 motorway are doing well.

Instead tourism is driving the slump. Following the financial crisis, many Britons who felt too poor or too unsure of their jobs to take foreign holidays plumped for “staycations” in Devon and Cornwall. …

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