In 2008, there were 2.03 million people in employment. By 2016, total employment is expected to be 77,000 lower than in 2008, recovering from a low of 1.7 million in 2010. In 2008, one quarter of employment was in the market services sector (finance, business services, hotels and other), just under one fifth in health and education, 14% in distribution (retail, wholesale and motor) and 13% in construction. By 2016, the sectoral distribution of employment will change somewhat. Traditional manufacturing is expected to lose 2 percentage points of its share and account for 5% of total employment by 2015. Construction is expected to account for 10% of employment in 2015 compared to 13% in 2008; agriculture for 4% compared to 6%. An increase in share is expected to be observed in market services, high tech manufacturing and transport and communications.
In 1990, almost 170,000 people were employed in agricultural activities. By 2008, this number had declined to 117,000. Employment in agriculture is expected to continue to decline, with an expected net loss of jobs of just under 30,000 by 2016.
High Tech Manufacturing
In 1990, less than 90,000 people were employed in high tech manufacturing compared to almost 140,000 in 2008. Employment in this sector is expected to fully recover following the recession and exceed pre-recession levels by 20,000 in 2016.
The share of machinery and equipment within high tech manufacturing has been declining (from 55% in 1990 to 49% in 2008) and this trend is expected to continue: by 2015 this sub-sector is expected to account for 45% of the high tech sector. In the short term, employment in machinery and equipment is expected to contract. However, beyond the recession, this sector, particularly medical devices manufacturing, is expected to grow strongly. By 2015, employment in the machinery and equipment sector is expected to be almost 4000 greater than before the recession.
In 2008, there were 146,000 people employed in traditional manufacturing compared to 162,000 a decade previously. Employment in this sector is expected to contract sharply during the recession and to continue on a negative trajectory beyond that, with employment declining to 100,000 by 2016.
Textile and clothing manufacturing is expected to experience the greatest relative number of net job losses over the forecasting period, with this sector expected to be reduced to less than 3000 people by 2016.
Food, drink and tobacco manufacturing is expected to experience the smallest relative number of net job losses, with employment contracting by 3000 between 2008 and 2016; more than a half of this loss is expected to occur during the recession.
More than a third of the total expected employment decline over the forecasting period is expected be in construction. The sector is expected to lose a net 120,000 jobs by 2010. Recovery is expected beyond 2010; however, at 190,000, employment in 2016 is expected to be 60,000 lower than in 2008. This, however, may prove to be an optimistic projection if the housing market remains subdued.
Employment in both the retail and motor vehicle sectors is expected to contract by a quarter during the recession and to recover afterwards. Employment is, however, not expected to recover to levels recorded in 2008 by the end of the forecasting period. As a result of the credit crunch, employment in the retail sector is expected to be 13,000 lower in 2016 compared to 2008 and 4000 lower in the motor vehicle trade.
Transport and Communications
Employment in transport and communications is expected to decline somewhat during the recession and to recover beyond 2010, exceeding the level recorded in 2008 by over 10,000 by 2016. Transport, which accounts for 66% of the sector, is expected to be worse affected during the recession with expected net job losses of 2000 by 2010. By contrast, employment in the communication sector is expected to hold up during the recession. Employment in both sectors is expected to grow beyond 2010, each exceeding 2008 levels by over 5,000 by 2015.