BOURNEMOUTH has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country for low-skilled job hunters, a report says.

The report by Centre for Cities says southern areas with strong economies are offering better prospects for those with few qualifications as well as for higher-skilled people.

The Bournemouth area the third lowest unemployment rate in the UK for low-skilled workers, at 9.1 per cent.

Low-skilled people in Middlesborough were twice as likely to be unemployed as in those in Bournemouth.

Although areas with weaker economies are home to many low-skilled jobs, there are also more people competing for each of those jobs, according to the Opportunity Knocks? Report.

The study, which defines the Bournemouth area as a city, says that while southern cities have higher living costs, their stronger economies also create 17 low-skilled job for every high-skilled one.

Centre for Cities wants more homes to be built in areas where accommodation is least affordable. It is also calling for more investment in adult education.

It wants local decision-makers to be given control of the government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, which is designed to reduce inequalities between communities.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “Politicians to the left and right of the political spectrum talk about supporting inclusive growth. The message of this report is clear: growing cities’ overall economies is a prerequisite for creating inclusive growth.

“This cannot be achieved with a one-size-fits-all approach. The government should therefore entrust city leaders to spend money from Shared Prosperity Fund on economic interventions that best suit their local areas’ need – be it adult education, infrastructure or affordable homes.“While the findings do indicate a North-South divide this is not uniform. In the north cities such as York, Preston and Warrington are also offering low-skill people a share in relative inclusive growth.”

The Opportunity Knocks? report, based in census data from 2011, says high-skilled jobs make up 42.9 per cent of the local economy.

It also wants more opportunities for low-skilled staff to train and improve their skills. It found only 21 per cent of school pupils achieved strong GCSEs in Barnsley and Bradford, compared with more than 40 per cent in Bournemouth and Aldershot.