Employment outcomes and plant closures in a post-industrial city: an analysis of the labour market status of MG Rover workers three years on

David Bailey, C. Chapain, A. de Ruyter

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    Abstract

    This paper examines how the loss of 6,300 jobs from the closure of MG Rover (MGR) in the city of Birmingham (UK) in April 2005 affected the employment trajectories of ex-workers, in the context of wider structural change and efforts at urban renewal. The paper presents an analysis of a longitudinal survey of 300 ex-MGR workers, and examines to what extent the state of local labour markets and workers‟ geographical mobility - as well as the effectiveness of the immediate policy response and longer term local economic strategies - may have helped balance the impacts of personal attributes associated with workers‟ employability and their re-absorption into the labour markets. We find that the relative buoyancy of the local economy, the success of longer-run efforts at diversification, and a strong policy response and retraining initiative helped many disadvantaged workers to find new jobs in the medium term. However, we also highlight the unequal employment outcomes and trajectories that many lesser-skilled workers faced. The paper explores the policy issues arising from such closures and their aftermath, such as the need to coordinate responses, to retain institutional capacity, to offer high quality training and education resources to workers, and where possible to slow down such closure processes to enable skills to be retained and reused within the local economy
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1595-1612
    JournalUrban Studies
    Volume49
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • MG Rover
    • automotive industry
    • labour market
    • unemployment

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