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Liverpool has highest rate of workless households for the fourth year in a row

Released: 06 September 2012 Download PDF

In 2011 Liverpool had the highest percentage of workless households in the UK, according to new analysis from ONS published today. Overall 31.6 per cent of households there were workless, but this was down slightly on the previous year when 31.9 per cent of households had been workless.

South Teesside had the second highest percentage of workless households in 2011, up from a ranking of fourth a year earlier. Some 29.1 per cent of households in this area, which contains the authorities of Redcar and Cleveland plus Middlesbrough, were workless.

The highest percentage of workless households in Wales was in the Central Valleys, and this area was the third highest across the UK. Comprising Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff, 28.7 per cent of households there were workless.

Glasgow City had the highest percentage of workless households in Scotland and was the fourth highest area across the UK. Around 28.7 per cent of households were workless in 2011. However in recent years, Glasgow has fallen down the ranking since being at the top in 2006 and 2007.

What is common among the areas within the top five – the fifth highest rate of worklessness being in Sunderland – is that they were all heavily industrialised in the last century. Industries such as the dockyards in Liverpool, coal mining in the Central Valleys and shipbuilding in Glasgow have been in long decline.

The lowest percentage of workless households in the UK were mostly concentrated in the south of England along with one area in the north. Oxfordshire had the lowest percentage, at 8.0 per cent in 2011, followed by Buckinghamshire, at 9.8 per cent. Both these areas have commonly had low rates of workless households since records began in 2004. East Cumbria was the area with the third lowest rate of workless households, at 10.9 per cent.

Across the UK sickness, both long-term and temporary, was the main reason for not working given by the people living in workless households. However this reason was far more common in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales than in the regions of England. London had the highest percentage of people giving study as the reason, partly explained by the many universities there. The South West and South East of England had the highest percentage giving retirement as their reason for not working.

A podcast giving more background on this analysis in available on the ONS Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/user/onsstats

Background notes

  1. There is a summary report at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/workless-households-for-regions-across-the-uk/2011/rpt-story.html
  2. The summary report and this news reelases concentrate on data down to the NUTS3 level (usually counties or aggregations of unitary authorities), but data are published down to individual local authorities on the ONS website, covering households, people, children and reasons for worklessness.
  3. The analysis is based on households where there is at least one household member aged between 16 and 64. There are 20.5 million such households in the UK. Data come from the Labour Force Survey.
  4. A working household is one that contains at least one person aged 16 to 64, where all individuals aged 16 and over are in employment. A mixed household is one that contains at least one person aged 16 to 64, where at least one person aged 16 and over is in employment and at least one other is either unemployed or inactive. A workless household is one that contains at least one person aged 16 to 64, where no-one aged 16 or over is in employment.
  5. People not working are classified as either ‘unemployed’ (which requires them to be available for, and actively seeking, work) or ‘economically inactive’ if they do not meet the criteria for unemployment. Major reasons for working-age people to be inactive include looking after family or home, being a student or being long-term sick or disabled.  
  6. The figures on reasons for not working apply to those in workless households. Some people who are not in work live in mixed households, and are not included in these figures.
  7. Follow us on www.twitter.com/statisticsONS and on the ONS Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/user/onsstats
  8. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media relations office.
  9. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. © Crown copyright 2012.
  10. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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