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Substantive issues in the definition of "localities": Evidence from sub-group local labour market areas in the West Midlands

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Mike Coombes


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COOMBES M. G., GREEN A. E. and OWEN D. W. (1988) Substantive issues in the definition of “localities”: evidence from sub-group local labour market areas in the West Midlands, Reg. Studies 22, 303–318. Local Labour Market Areas (LLMAs) are now widely accepted as the most appropriate areal units for analyses of spatial patterns of employment and unemployment. The most commonly used set of LLMAs in Britain are the Travel-To-Work Areas (TTWAs) of the Department of Employment. These areas are increasingly being used for locality studies that encompass not only labour and demand trends but also their social and political implications. However, TTWAs are defined on the basis of aggregate commuting patterns, which generalize substantial differences in the journey-to-work behaviour of different sections of the workforce. This paper compares the TTWAs, as revised in 1984, with LLMAs defined using the same methodology for four sub-groups of the labour force with differing skill levels, in the West Midlands. The number and spatial arrangement of sub-group LLMAs are examined with reference to factors such as income differences, population distribution, employment location and changes over time in levels of mobility. The implications are considered, first in relation to the use of TTWAs for policy boundaries, but particularly with regard to locality studies and the sensitivity of intensive analysis to the definition of locality adopted.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coombes MG, Green AE, Owen DW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Regional Studies

Year: 1988

Volume: 22

Issue: 4

Pages: 303-318

Print publication date: 01/08/1988

ISSN (print): 0034-3404

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0591

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/00343408812331344990


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