Boffins at the Centre for Cities say parts of the country have experienced greatly different economic fallout from the economic freeze over the last two years.
At opposite ends of the scale were Hull and Cambridge; the North East port city has experienced rising unemployment at a rate four times faster than in the East Anglia university town.
Doncaster and Birmingham also suffered disproportionately high job losses, said the think tank in its annual review of the health of urban Britain.
The think-tank said: “Many of the cities that have been hit hardest are places still suffering from the legacy of industrial restructuring and previous recessions. This is widening the gap between cities.
“The difference between the highest and lowest ten cities in terms of their claimant count has widened by 70 per cent since the start of the recession.
In Hull the unemployment rate has swollen by 16,000 names during the recession compared with just over 700 in Cambridge.
Centre for Cities said that while the country probably climbed out of recession in the final quarter of last year, many parts of the country will feel as though they are still in the thick of recession during this year’s general election.
Responding to the figures, shadow work and pensions secretary Theresa May said: “It looks like the recovery will be long and hard. Young people are bearing the brunt of the crisis and we need to do much more to help them into work.