United Kingdom

Blue collar jobs

Key points

Overall trends

Jobs in the production industries

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Graph 1: Over time by industry

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Graph 2: Over time within production

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Graph 3: By region

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Graph 4: By gender

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Graph 5: By industry

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Why this indicator was originally chosen

This indicator is the number of jobs in the manufacturing, construction and other production industries.  Whilst the total number of jobs has been growing over the last decade, the mix of these jobs has also been changing.  This has potentially important implications for poverty. In particular, production, construction and other production industries are typically dominated by full-time male manual jobs and the loss of such jobs can have a severe impact on the income of many households where the man is often the major earner of the household.

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Definitions and data sources

The data in all the graphs includes both employed and self-employed people (technically 'workforce jobs') and covers the whole of the United Kingdom.

The first graph shows total number of jobs over time, with the data broken down into four overall sectors, namely: manufacturing, construction and other production industries (Standard Industrial Classification or SIC 2007 codes A-F); wholesale, retail, hotels and restaurants (SIC 2007 codes G and I); finance and other business activities (SIC 2007 codes H plus J-N); and public sector and other community services (SIC 2007 codes O-S).  At this level of aggregation, these groups are broadly comparable to SIC 2003 groups A-F, G-H, I-K and L-Q that were in use until recently.

The second graph shows a further breakdown of the trends in the manufacturing, construction and other production industry sector.

The third graph shows, for each region and each sector, the change in jobs over the last decade.  These changes are shown as a proportion of the total jobs in each region a decade ago.

The data source for the first three graphs is ONS Economic and labour market review publications and the data is a count of jobs rather than a count of people.  The data is for the first quarter of each year.

The fourth graph shows the proportion of workers that are in each of the four sectors for each of full-time male workers, full-time female workers and part-time workers (both sexes combined).

The fifth graph shows how the total number of people working in each sector is divided between full-time male workers, full-time female workers and part-time workers (both sexes combined).

The ONS Economic and labour market review publications do not provide data by gender.  In this context, the data source for the fourth and fifth graphs is the Labour Force Survey and the data is the average for the latest three years.  Note that these two graphs are counts of people rather than the counts of jobs in the first two graphs.  For full-time workers, these two counts are similar but, for part-time workers, they are somewhat different as two part-time workers can share the same job and one part-time worker might have more than one job.  The general pattern in both graphs would, however have been similar if job counts had been used.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  The data is from authoritative sources but is subject to substantial revisions from time to time.

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External links

See the 2007 Joseph Rowntree Foundation report entitled Work-rich and work-poor: three decades of change.

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Relevant 2007 Public Service Agreements

None directly relevant.

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The numbers

Graph 1

Year Millions
Public sector, voluntary sector and other miscellaneous Manufacturing, construction and other production industries Finance and other business activities Distribution, hotels and restaurants
19968.1 6.9 6.7 6.3
1997 8.1 6.9 6.9 6.5
1998 8.1 7.0 7.2 6.6
1999 8.3 6.8 7.4 6.6
2000 8.5 6.7 7.6 6.7
2001 8.6 6.5 8.0 6.8
2002 8.8 6.4 8.2 6.8
2003 9.1 6.2 8.3 6.9
2004 9.4 6.1 8.4 7.0
2005 9.6 6.1 8.5 7.0
2006 9.8 6.0 8.7 7.0
20079.8 6.0 8.9 7.0
20089.9 6.0 9.2 7.2
200910.0 5.8 9.1 6.9
201010.2 5.5 8.9 6.6
201110.2 5.5 9.0 6.7

Graph 2

Year Millions
ManufacturingConstructionOther production industry
19964.3 1.8 0.8
1997 4.3 1.8 0.9
1998 4.3 1.9 0.8
1999 4.2 1.9 0.8
2000 4.0 1.9 0.7
2001 3.9 1.9 0.7
2002 3.7 2.0 0.7
2003 3.5 2.0 0.7
2004 3.3 2.1 0.7
2005 3.2 2.2 0.7
2006 3.0 2.3 0.7
20073.0 2.3 0.7
20082.9 2.3 0.7
20092.7 2.3 0.8
20102.6 2.1 0.8
20112.5 2.1 0.8

Graph 3

Region Public sector, voluntary sector and other miscellaneous Manufacturing, construction and other production industries Private sector services Total
East 6% -4% 4% 6%
East Midlands 6% -3% 6% 9%
London 6% -3% -1% 2%
North East 5% -4% 4% 6%
North West 6% -5% 3% 4%
Northern Ireland 5% -4% 8% 9%
Scotland 4% -5% 5% 4%
South East 6% -3% 2% 6%
South West 5% -1% 4% 8%
Wales 5% -3% 4% 6%
West Midlands 3% -7% 4% -1%
Yorkshire and The Humber 4% -3% 4% 5%

Graph 4

Type of workerPublic sector, voluntary sector and other miscellaneous Manufacturing, construction and other production industries Finance and other business activities Distribution, hotels and restaurants Total
Full-time male21% 35% 29% 15% 100%
Full-time female 52% 11% 23% 15% 100%
All part-time 45% 7% 17% 31% 100%

Graph 5

Type of workerPublic sector, voluntary sector and other miscellaneous Manufacturing, construction and other production industries Finance and other business activities Distribution, hotels and restaurants
Full-time male 31% 79% 58% 39%
Full-time female 40% 13% 25% 21%
All part-time 29% 7% 17% 39%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100%

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