43rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Peripheries, Centres, and Spatial Development in the New Europe", 27th - 30th August 2003, Jyväskylä, Finland
Across Europe the competitiveness of urban and regional labour markets becomes an increasingly important task for regional and sector policies. Efficient matching of local demand and supply of labour at different qualification levels is considered to be an important prerequisite both for economic growth and social cohesion in every region. The expectation is that higher mobility of the labour force should increase the general level of employment. Moreover, increased total labour mobility is seen as a tool for reaching the goals of the labour market policy, employing as large as possible part of the labour force into ordinary employment. Furthermore high mobility is expected to satisfy the employer's claim of filling in the vacancies with suitable labour as quickly as possible in a flexible labour market in continually structural change. Use of annual gross-flow labour market statistics may be very relevant in such analyses. Such data may allow multidimensional analysis of labour market mobility, i.e. in geographical terms as well as between sectors and according to the qualifications of the labour force. Theoretical considerations may advantageously be taken from e.g. the human capital theory and theories of segmented labour markets and regional division of labour. According to human capital theory, it is the most highly educated persons that are considered to benefit most from mobility. Inter-sector mobility is also expected to be more frequent among younger people, who have not yet embedded branch-specific knowledge through a long professional career. The main purpose of the project is to analyse the performance and competitiveness of cities and regions in terms of growth of employment and especially focusing on the number and quality of the persons that enter and leave the local labour markets. As a point of departure cities and regions in Norway will be classified into different categories according to a large set of production conditions. It is perhaps not surprising that cities and regions with uneven production conditions perform different according to employment growth and mobility, but when similar regions to some extent also perform different, this demand more sophisticated explanations. Labour market mobility is analysed by measuring regional labour market transitions by use of longitudinal gross-flow data during the 1990s specified by a concise regional vacancy-account.