The Changing Geographies of Manufacturing in the Uk Since the 1970s

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The Changing Geographies of Manufacturing in the UK since the 1970s

Since the 1970's, the geographies of manufacturing in the UK has been one of steady decline in relative contribution to GDP and in relative and real terms of employment. This dominant trend can be explained by 4 Theses and this essay will focus on them.

The Maturity thesis focuses on the decline in the relative contribution of manufacturing to the employment in the UK.
A typical Industry is going through:

1. Growth Phase, in which the industry share in the country's employment rises rapidly.

2. Maturity Phase, when the share stabilises.

3. Declining Phase, marked by decline in this share.

Figure 1 Employment change through maturity

A sector in growth phase takes the labour needed for its growth from other sectors. The service sector was experiencing growth from the 1970’s onwards and in immature countries the labour was mostly taken from the agricultural sector. But the UK had just 3,6 % of civil employment in agriculture in 1966.(Martin and Rowthorn 1986, 2010) The consequence was that almost all of the labour needed for its growth (20%) from 1971 until 2009 was taken from the industry sector.
This explains why the UK was the first developed country to experience de-industrialisation and its strong influence.

Figure 2 UK Unemployment by broad sector, 1971-2009 Cambridge Econometrics analysis of ONS (2013)

But most of the rise in employment in the service sector was experienced by the South East, especially London. While the losses in Manufacturing jobs were just a little bit bigger for the South East then for the rest of the country. By 2007 the South East had 40 per cent of all business service and 35 per cent of all financial service jobs in the UK, whilst being responsible for 50 per…...

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