With the first unemployment figures of 2012 due out this week, the TUC is warning today (Tuesday) that additional job cuts in local government, education, the NHS and the civil service – announced in November’s autumn statement – will have a devastating impact on regional labour markets.

Using official statistics the TUC has analysed the most recent regional unemployment figures and local public sector employment numbers to look at which parts of the UK are going to be hit the hardest by the 710,000 jobs set to go across the public sector.

Although it is not possible to say exactly where public sector jobs are to go between now and 2017, assuming that the job losses take place in proportion to current levels of public sector employment, the TUC has calculated that Northern Ireland and the North East are amongst the areas hardest hit.

Prior to last year’s autumn statement the Office for Budget Responsibility had expected to see 400,000 jobs go across the public sector. But back in November it revised its forecast to announce that an extra 310,000 public sector jobs would disappear by the end of 2017.

So for example, TUC calculations suggest that by 2017 Northern Ireland is likely to see 25,992 jobs going across its public services (a 3.2 per cent hit on employment across the nation), and the North East will suffer a 2.9 per cent cut in employment, as 32,668 public sector jobs are likely to go across the region.

Based on regional employment levels, the South East and the East of England (both regions are likely to see a 1.9 per cent fall in the number of jobs available locally), will be the least affected, with public sector job cuts of 80,836 and 52,937 respectively.

The TUC is concerned that the coming cuts in public sector employment will make it even harder for those out of work to get back into the labour market, raising the prospect that long-term unemployment will become the grim reality for many thousands more people. With unemployment levels ranging from 6.1 per cent in the South East to 11.7 per cent in the North East, the public sector job cuts planned will have a devastating effect on local economies, says the TUC.

Commenting on the analysis, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Tomorrow’s figures are unlikely to bring good news. For the 2.6 million people currently without work, their prospects of finding a job look ever harder, and with thousands of jobs set to go across our public services while private sector job creation stagnates, the picture is set to get much, much worse.

‘Apart from the huge effect that the job cuts will have upon the provision of public services across the UK, mass redundancies across the public sector are bad news for our struggling economy, and will have a devastating impact upon local high streets, as newly-unemployed public sector workers simply stop spending.

‘The government needs to devote much more time and energy towards solving our growing jobs crisis. Instead it’s making the problem worse, cutting jobs in the public sector and failing to secure growth to protect private sector employees.’