The number of dole claimants per job vacancy is more than twice as high in parts of the North than in the South, illustrating a "stark" regional divide, according to a new analysis of unemployment figures.
A study by the TUC found more than nine claimants for every vacancy in the North East, compared with around four in the South East and South West.
The report also showed that the labour market in London was far weaker than the regions surrounding it, with inner-city areas such as Haringey, Lewisham and Hackney among the worst employment black spots in the country, having up to 20 claimants per vacancy.
London is as divided as the rest of the country, said the TUC, with the local job opportunities scarce in areas very close to the City - one of the most prosperous places in the world.
The latest unemployment data showed that 46 of the 202 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland have more than 10 dole claimants for every available job vacancy, said the union organisation.
The TUC urged the Chancellor to use this week's Budget to announce "bold new measures" to tackle the jobs crisis, including a guarantee of a paid job or training for any young person out of work for six months and a new youth credit to support young people looking for work or training.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "When ministers say there is plenty of work out there, they ignore the fact that there are plenty more people chasing those jobs. There are over 10 dole claimants chasing every job vacancy in nearly a quarter of all local authorities.
"The scarcity of jobs is particularly bad in the North East, though there are employment black spots throughout the country including parts of Scotland, Wales and areas of London just a few miles from the City.
"New jobs are being created all the time, but not quickly enough to replace all the job losses we're seeing in both the public and private sectors. Worryingly, most new jobs are part-time and not an adequate replacement for the full-time earning many people need. The Chancellor must put tackling the jobs crisis at the heart of his Budget and prioritise support for young people out of work."
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "We know times are tough for jobseekers, which is why we have introduced the Work Programme which gives people tailored support that's right for them and will match people to the vacancies in their area. We have also announced that £1 billion will be spent over the next three years to provide young people with extra help. The Youth Contract will provide nearly half-a-million new opportunities for young people, including apprenticeships and work experience placements."