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The future of local unemployment statistics : the case for replacing TTWAs

Webster, David and Turok, Ivan (1997) The future of local unemployment statistics : the case for replacing TTWAs. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 22 (2). pp. 36-44. ISSN 0306-7866

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    The main geographical unit for official unemployment rates below regional level is the Travel-to-Work Area. TTWAs sub-divide Britain into a single set of mutually exclusive areas. Each is supposed to constitute a fairly self-contained labour market, i.e. most of the workforce living and working within the same area The definition of these areas is currently based on commuting data from the 1981 Census. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is currently undertaking a review of unemployment statistics to see whether the requirements of users such as local authorities and TECs/LECs are being met. (1) One option is to update the TTWA boundaries using me 1991 Census to reflect recent changes in commuting patterns. Another option is to replace TTWAs with a reporting system based on smaller or different areas. This is a vital decision for economic researchers and policy-makers and one which is discussed in this economic perspective