Economic theory tells us that trade can help boost employment outcomes in the long run. However, the benefits of trade are not necessarily experienced equally, or at all. Evidence suggests that some sectors do better than others and that the impact on labour can differ by gender and skill group. Given the different sectoral and skill mixture of age groups and regions, it is also highly likely that the impacts also differ across these dimensions. Organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission have produced estimates for some of the impacts of trade on the labour market. While these estimates can capture cross-border supply chain interactions, they are often very aggregate and do not explore the distributional impacts across different labour market characteristics and regions. Some countries, such as the United States and Canada have sought to improve their understanding of the distributional impact of trade by estimating these various impacts. However, a gap in existing statistics exists for the United Kingdom, particularly when looking at distributional impacts.
This project, commissioned by the Department for International Trade (DIT), produces for the first time a comprehensive set of indicators to estimate the aggregate and various distributional impacts of UK exports on the labour market.
This allows for an in-depth understanding of the relationship between exports and the labour market in the UK. The indicators are highly detailed and include a large number of sectors, a yearly time series covering the years 2014-16, a large number of trading partners, breakdowns by gender, occupation group, age group, qualifications, and UK NUTS1 region.