Factories hit hardest by UK’s four-year slump

By politics.co.uk staff

Britain's manufacturing sector has suffered the most since the eve of the recession, according to analysis by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

It found that finance and business services – the sector blamed by many for Britain's lost growth in recent years – was the only one to have increased the size of its workforce.

The UK's manufacturing sector lost 14% of its jobs between the final quarter of 2007 and the final quarter of 2011, the TUC found.

Construction workers were also hard hit, losing 12% of their workforce in the same period.

"The UK economy desperately needs more jobs and the return of decent pay rises," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said.

"Our hopes of a sustainable economic recovery depend on this."

He called on the government to abandon its "ill-advised" deficit reduction plan and instead implement a guarantee of paid work or training for every young person who has been out of work for six months – a policy backed by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Mr Barber added: "This would go some way what towards redressing the harsh cuts in educational maintenance allowance and jobs support that young people have suffered under this government."

The retail, hotel and restaurants industry lost 221,000 jobs over the four-year period, but managed to recover from the recession better than elsewhere.

"Unfortunately these jobs are heavily dependent on people's disposable incomes and falling wages are forcing people to rein in their spending," Mr Barber said.

Unemployment figures are due out tomorrow. They are expected to show one in five young people aged between 16 and 24 are out of work.