Unemployment durations vary across local authority districts in the UK. We explore the extent to which this variation is explained by differences in local labour demand as opposed to composition, business cycle and regional effects. We use seventeen waves of the British Household Panel Survey to identify the determinants of the duration of unemployment spells. Once we adjust for individual-level, business cycle and regional controls, we do not find evidence that living in a local authority district with relatively high unemployment is associated with longer spells of unemployment. This indicates that differences in labour demand operate at larger geographic scales, such as between large regions. Our findings have implications for the design of policies to help high unemployment districts.