Employers have welcomed government initiatives unveiled last week as part of the drive to full employment, saying they could ease staffing shortages in some industries.
But the TUC has warned that the initiatives ignore major regional differences in employment opportunities.
Last week Chancellor Gordon Brown revealed that unemployed people are to be encouraged to travel to areas where there are unfilled job vacancies. Some will also receive pagers or mobile phones to help them apply promptly for new job opportunities. Brown said vacancies are at record levels of around one million in the UK.
Miles Quest, of the British Hospitality Association, said, "If this policy is implemented it will definitely help us. If people are encouraged to move about it would certainly help deal with some of the staffing shortages in the hotel and catering industry."
Brown said last week that he plans to use the forthcoming Budget on 21 March to propose action teams to work in areas with high numbers of jobless people.
The teams will: identify suitable vacancies within travelling distance; match these vacancies to the long-term unemployed; and tackle any specific barriers which stop people taking these jobs.
The employment zone initiative, planned for 15 areas of the UK, is organised by the DfEE.