The latest government figures revealed that unemployment is dropping like a stone. Apparently the UK is awash with new jobs, and employers are desperate to get us to sign on the dotted line. However, for the vast majority of people it doesn't feel this way. In fact, according to research from job search site Adzuna.co.uk, competition for jobs in London is higher than at any time in the last 12 months.
So where are all the jobs hiding?
The best and worstThe website analysed job vacancies in the top 50 cities in the UK, and compared them to the number of benefit claimants in each city - to work out the number of unemployed people chasing each available job. It revealed that the worst place to be looking for a job (for the second year running) is Hull - where there are 52 claimants for each vacancy - followed by Sunderland, The Wirral, Wolverhampton and Bradford.
It also identified areas in decline - where it was getting harder to find work. These included Crawley, Brighton, Newcastle, Leeds and London. These are still comparatively easy to find work in, but are worth keeping an eye on. In London, for example, the competition for jobs has increased 26% in the last six months.
The specialists who are most likely to be in demand are those in IT and engineering - with 1.6 million jobs advertised in 2012. The greatest growth has been in finance, sales and graduate jobs.
Your optionsFor those struggling to find work, therefore, there are a few options. The answer may be that you have to follow the work. If there's nothing available locally, then the time may have come to consider a major life change.
Alternatively, if the area you work in is declining, then there may be an argument for retraining. Alongside IT and engineering, there are growing vacancies for entry level positions in the public sector. Despite the redundancies, everyone from schools to police forces are recruiting, and if you're prepared to start at the bottom, there may be long-term opportunities.
Increasingly, however, finding work involves a particularly painful compromise: taking a lower-paid job. There may be more jobs available, but they are fetching lower salaries. The average salaries in a number of UK cities are falling. Wales has dropped 9%, while the West Midlands is down 7% and Eastern England 6%. The worst city for falling salaries is Liverpool - where they have fallen 8% to £26,240 in the last 6 months.
But what do you think? How does your area and sector fare? Let us know in the comments.
Best Cities to find a job1. Aberdeen
Worst Cities to find a job1. Hull
3. The Wirral