Technically recession is two successive quarters of “negative growth”, so the first quarter in my stats isn’t part of the recession since the economy was stagnant (growth was 0%) and I suspect that we will be out of recession from the third quarter. However the effects continue long after and it’s not unusual to see occasional quarters of contraction.
I suspect you are right on the demographics in Wandsworth depressing the JSA figures. Some very back of the envelope calculations I did comparing older JSA figures against the actual unemployment figures showed that in the more affluent wards a lower proportion of unemployed people were claiming JSA. Not statistically valid (far too small a sample, before you even consider the other factors at play) but it certainly backs up my – and your – instinct.
Your final point is not lost. We do a lot to encourage small business, and have the Youth Enterprise Centre in Tooting, but we don’t specifically encourage start-ups in a particular sector, though we do look at this from time to time and when potential funding opportunities present themselves. There is something of a technology and creative centre in Wandsworth so it is something we would strongly consider.