Regional labour market statistics in the UK: August 2016

Regional, local authority and parliamentary constituency breakdowns of changes in UK employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics.

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This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
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Release date:
17 August 2016

Next release:
14 September 2016

1. Main points

For the 3 months ending June 2016, the highest employment rate in the UK was in the South East (78.3%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (69.0%). The pattern for all regions currently suggests either flat or gently increasing employment rates.

For the 3 months ending June 2016, the highest unemployment rate in the UK was in the North East (7.6%) and the lowest was in the East of England (3.3%). The unemployment rate estimates are generally showing small changes for each of the regions of the UK.

For July 2016, the highest Claimant Count rate in the UK was in the North East (4.1%) and the lowest was in the South East (1.3%). Compared with June 2016, the majority of regions saw no change in the Claimant Count rate. The exceptions were Northern Ireland and the North West, which both saw a decrease of 0.1 percentage point.

For the 3 months ending June 2016, the highest economic inactivity rate in the UK was in Northern Ireland (26.4%) and the lowest was in the South East (18.6%). The largest change in the economic inactivity rate, compared with the same period last year, was in the North East, which decreased by 2.9 percentage points.

Between December 2015 and March 2016, the largest increase in workforce jobs in the UK was in London, at 55,000. The largest decrease was in the South West, at 21,000.

In March 2016, the region with the highest proportion of workforce jobs in the service sector was London at 91.3%, which had decreased by 0.5 percentage points since December 2015. The East Midlands, West Midlands and Wales all had the highest proportion of jobs in the production sector, at 12.8%.

The highest average actual weekly hours worked, for the 12 months ending March 2016, was in London, at 33.4 hours, and lowest in the South West, at 31.0 hours. For full-time workers, it was highest in the East Midlands, at 38.0 hours, and for part-time workers it was highest in the West Midlands, at 16.9 hours.

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2. In this bulletin

This bulletin shows the latest main labour market statistics for the regions and countries of the UK, along with statistics for local authorities, travel-to-work areas and parliamentary constituencies.

Data for Northern Ireland, although included in this bulletin, are available separately, in full, in the Northern Ireland Labour Market Report on the NISRA economic and labour market statistics website.

Updated this month

Labour Force Survey estimates for the period April to June 2016
Claimant Count for July 2016

Also in this release

Annual Population Survey estimates for the period April 2015 to March 2016
Public and private sector employment for March 2016
Workforce jobs estimates for March 2016

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3. Summary of latest regional labour market statistics

Table A shows the latest estimates for employment, unemployment and economic inactivity for April to June 2016 and a comparison with the previous quarter (January to March 2016). Comparing non-overlapping periods (April to June 2016 with January to March 2016) provides a more robust short-term comparison. Table B shows the latest Claimant Count rate for July 2016, and shows how these figures compare with the previous month (June 2016) and the previous year (July 2015).

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4. Understanding and working with labour market statistics

Labour market statistics measure many different aspects of work and jobs and provide an insight into the economy. They are also very much about people, including their participation in the labour force, the types of work they do, the earnings and benefits they receive and their working patterns.

We have developed a framework for labour market statistics to describe the concepts within the labour market and their relationship to each other. The framework is based on labour supply and demand.

Labour supply consists of people who are employed, as well as those people defined as unemployed or economically inactive, who are considered to be potential labour supply. Our framework distinguishes between these 3 categories of worker, and also between the different working arrangements of those in employment such as employees, the self-employed and those on government schemes.

Labour demand is represented by employers, who have a need for work to be done, and who offer compensation for this work to the employees who undertake it. Employers group this work to form jobs.

This approach has wide international acceptance, including by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Users of labour market statistics include central and local government, economists, financial analysts, journalists, businesses, trade unions, employer associations, students, teachers, industrial tribunals, academic researchers and lobby groups.

They use them for the analysis, evaluation, monitoring and planning of the labour market and economy. Labour market statistics are also used for social analysis and help inform a wide range of government policies towards population groups of particular concern (women, young people, older people and jobless households).

Labour market statuses

Everybody aged 16 or over is either employed, unemployed or economically inactive. The employment estimates include all people in work including those working part-time. People not working are classed as unemployed if they have been looking for work within the last 4 weeks and are able to start work within the next 2 weeks. A common misconception is that the unemployment statistics are a count of people on benefits; this is not the case as they include unemployed people not claiming benefits.

Jobless people who have not been looking for work within the last 4 weeks or who are unable to start work within the next 2 weeks are classed as economically inactive. Examples of economically inactive people include people not looking for work because they are students, looking after the family or home, because of illness or disability, or because they have retired.

A glossary is also available to explain the main labour market terms.

What is the relationship between the Annual Population Survey (APS) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS)?

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a household survey using international definitions of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity and compiles a wide range of related topics such as occupation, training, hours of work and personal characteristics of household members aged 16 years and over. Estimates are produced every month for a rolling 3 monthly period; for example, January to March data in a release will be followed by data for February to April in the next release.

The Annual Population Survey (APS), which began in 2004, is compiled from interviews for the LFS, along with additional regional samples. The APS comprises the main variables from the LFS, with a much larger sample size. Consequently the APS supports more detailed breakdowns than can be reliably produced from the LFS. Estimates are produced every quarter for a rolling annual period; for example, January to December data will be followed by data for April to March when they are next updated.

This bulletin includes labour market estimates at a regional level from the LFS on total employment, unemployment and economic inactivity. More detailed regional estimates for employment by age, full-time and part-time working, economic activity and economic inactivity by age, and reasons for economic inactivity are provided using the APS. Any estimates for geographic areas below regional level are provided using the APS. In tables where APS estimates are provided for detailed geographic areas, regional and national estimates are also provided from APS for comparability.

Making comparisons with earlier data

The most robust estimates of short-term movements in estimates derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are obtained by comparing the estimates for April to June 2016 with the estimates for January to March 2016, which were first published on 18 May 2016. This provides a more robust estimate than comparing with the estimates for March to May 2016. This is because the April and May data are included within both estimates, so observed differences are only between March and June 2016. The LFS is representative of the UK population over a 3 month period, not for single month periods.

Accuracy and reliability of survey estimates

Most of the figures in this statistical bulletin come from surveys of households or businesses. Surveys gather information from a sample rather than from the whole population. The sample is designed carefully to allow for this, and to be as accurate as possible given practical limitations such as time and cost constraints, but results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This means that they are subject to a margin of error which can have an impact on how changes in the numbers should be interpreted, especially in the short term.

Changes in the numbers reported in this statistical bulletin (and especially the rates) between 3 month periods are usually not greater than the margin of error. In practice, this means that small, short-term movements in reported rates (for example, within plus or minus 0.3 percentage points) should be treated as indicative, and considered alongside medium and long-term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in administrative sources, where available, to give a fuller picture.

Further information is available in Quality information, in the Background notes section.

Seasonal adjustment

All estimates discussed in this statistical bulletin are seasonally adjusted except where otherwise stated. Like many economic indicators, the labour market is affected by factors that tend to occur at around the same time every year; for example, school leavers entering the labour market in July and whether Easter falls in March or April. In order to compare movements other than annual changes in labour market statistics, the data are seasonally adjusted to remove the effects of seasonal factors and the arrangement of the calendar.

A glossary is also available to explain the main labour market terms.

Where to find explanatory information

We have produced a number of items to help aid understanding and highlight common misunderstandings of labour market statistics, all of which are available on our website:

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5. Employment

Employment measures the number of people in work; it differs from the number of jobs because some people have more than one job.

Employment consists of employees, self-employed people, unpaid family workers and people on government supported training and employment programmes. Unpaid family workers are people who work in a family business who do not receive a formal wage or salary but benefit from the profits of that business. The government supported training and employment programmes series does not include all people on these programmes; it only includes people engaging in any form of work, work experience or work-related training who are not included in the employees or self-employed series. People on these programmes not engaging in any form of work, work experience or work-related training are not included in the employment estimates; they are classified as unemployed or economically inactive.

An article comparison between estimates of employment and jobs is available on our website.

A glossary is also available to explain the main labour market terms.

Regional employment

The employment rate for people aged from 16 to 64 for the UK was 74.5% for the period April to June 2016. This is an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the previous period (January to March 2016).

The UK region with the highest employment rate was the South East, at 78.3%, followed by the East of England, at 78.1%, and the South West, at 77.7%. The highest rate for the same period last year was in the South West, at 78.2%.

The region with the lowest employment rate was Northern Ireland, at 69.0%, followed by the North East, at 71.2%, and West Midlands, at 71.9%. The lowest rate for the same period last year was also in Northern Ireland, at 67.7%.

The region with the largest increase in the employment rate on the previous period (January to March 2016), was the East Midlands, with an increase of 1.2 percentage points. The East Midlands was followed by Scotland, with an increase on the previous period of 1.0 percentage points, and the North East, with an increase of 0.8 percentage points. The recent pattern for both the East Midlands and North East is for increasing employment rates, although at a much gentler rate than suggested by the latest estimates. Scotland’s increase is largely due to an estimate in the previous period much lower than other recent estimates, with the underlying pattern mostly flat.

The North West and Wales were the only regions to see a decrease in the employment rate, with a decrease of 0.8 and 0.3 percentage points respectively. Despite these decreases, the general pattern for recent employment rates appears to be mostly flat.

All other regions saw an increase in the employment rate compared with the previous period except Northern Ireland, which was unchanged.

Over the year, the region with the largest increase in the employment rate was the North East, with an increase of 3.1 percentage points, followed by the South East, with an increase of 1.7 percentage points, and the North West, with an increase of 1.4 percentage points.

There was only 1 region that saw a decrease in the employment rate: the South West, at 0.5 percentage points. Scotland was the only region where the employment rate remained unchanged, compared with the same period last year.

Where to find data about employment

Employment estimates are available for each region in Dataset HI00 – Headline LFS indicators for all UK regions and HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tabs 1 and 2), and Datasets LI01 to LI05 ¬– Local indicators for sub-regional areas of Great Britain, for this and further estimate breakdowns by age or geographies.

These tables contain data produced from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS). A note in the section Understanding and working with labour market statistics on the relationship between the LFS and APS entitled What is the relationship between the APS and the LFS? is included in this bulletin.

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6. Workforce jobs (first published on 15 June 2016)

Workforce jobs measures the number of filled jobs in the economy. The estimates are mainly sourced from employer surveys such as the Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES) and the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES). Workforce jobs is a different concept from employment, which is sourced from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), as employment is an estimate of people and some people have more than one job.

A comparison between estimates of employment and jobs article is published on our website.

A glossary is also available to explain the main labour market terms.

The service sector consists of the following industries:

  • wholesale and retail trade
  • repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles, transport and storage
  • accommodation and food service activities
  • information and communication
  • financial and insurance activities
  • real estate activities
  • professional, scientific and technical activities
  • administrative and support service activities
  • public administration and defence
  • compulsory social security
  • education
  • human health and social work activities
  • arts, entertainment and recreation
  • other service activities
  • people employed by households, and so on

The production sector consists of the following industries:

  • mining and quarrying
  • manufacturing
  • electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
  • water supply, sewerage, waste and remediation activities

The “other” sector consists of agriculture, forestry, and fishing and construction industries.

The Northern Ireland self-employed component of the workforce jobs is published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) as part of the economic and labour market statistics.

Regional workforce jobs

Workforce jobs increased in 9 of the 12 regions of the UK between December 2015 and March 2016. The largest increase at 55,000 was in London, followed by the South East, which increased by 50,000.

The largest decrease at 21,000 was in the South West, followed by Wales, which decreased by 12,000.

Compared with the same month last year (March 2015), the largest increase in workforce jobs was in London, with an increase of 110,000. This was also the largest overall change. The largest decrease was in the North East, at 6,000.

The East Midlands, West Midlands and Wales all had the highest proportion of jobs in the production sector, at 12.8%, while London had the lowest proportion, at 3.0%. This is due to London having primarily service-based industries within its region, such as financial and administrative sectors.

For the service sector, London had the highest proportion, at 91.3%, whilst Wales had the lowest proportion, at 77.0%. The service sector currently accounts for 83.1% of the total workforce jobs in the UK.

Where to find data about workforce jobs

Workforce jobs estimates are available for each region in Datasets HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tabs 4 and 5).

While comparable estimates for workforce jobs by industry begin in 1978, there is information back to 1841, based on census data (not comparable with the latest estimates), available from 2011 Census Analysis on our website.

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7. Actual hours worked (first published on 20 July 2016)

Actual hours worked measures the number of hours worked in the economy. Changes in actual hours worked reflect changes in the number of people in employment and the average hours worked by those people.

A glossary is also available to explain the main labour market terms.

Regional actual hours worked

For the period April 2015 to March 2016, the UK region with the highest average actual weekly hours worked, for all workers, was London, at 33.4 hours, followed by Northern Ireland, at 33.2 hours, and the East Midlands, at 32.5 hours. The lowest was in the South West, at 31.0 hours, followed by Yorkshire and The Humber, at 31.2 hours.

The UK region with the largest increase in the average hours worked, compared with the same period last year (April 2014 to March 2015) was the East Midlands, with an increase of 0.3 hours, a percentage increase of 1.1%. This was followed by London and the West Midlands, both with an increase of 0.1 hours (percentage increases of 0.3% and 0.4% respectively). The largest decrease in the average hours worked was in Yorkshire and The Humber, with a decrease of 0.6 hours (1.9%), and the South West, with a decrease of 0.5 hours (1.5%).

The region with the highest average actual weekly hours worked in full-time jobs was the East Midlands, at 38.0 hours. This represents an increase of 0.4 hours and a percentage increase of 1.0%, compared with the same period last year. The lowest was Scotland, at 36.5 hours, which has decreased by 0.4 hours, a percentage decrease of 1.1%. For part-time jobs, the region with the highest average hours worked was the West Midlands, at 16.9 hours, and the lowest was the South West, at 15.4 hours.

For men, the region with the highest average hours worked was Northern Ireland, at 38.3 hours, and for women it was London, at 28.9 hours. The largest difference in average hours worked between men and women was in Northern Ireland, where men worked on average 11.1 more hours a week than women. The largest change compared with the same period last year (April 2014 to March 2015), was seen for women in the East Midlands, where the average hours worked increased by 3.4%; an increase from 26.4 hours to 27.3 hours per week.

The regions with the largest difference in total hours worked between men and women were the South East and London, where men worked a total of 32.0 million more hours than women. The region with the smallest difference was Northern Ireland, where men worked only 6.0 million more hours than women.

Where to find data about hours worked

Hours worked estimates are available for each region in Datasets HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tab 6). These estimates are based on data from the Annual Population Survey (APS).

The national data is also available at the UK labour market statistical bulletin in Datasets HOUR01 SA: Actual weekly hours worked (seasonally adjusted) and HOUR02: Usual weekly hours worked (seasonally adjusted). These estimates are based on data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

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8. Unemployment

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last 4 weeks and are available to start work within the next 2 weeks.

A glossary is also available to explain the main labour market terms.

Regional unemployment

Regional estimates for the unemployment rate are quite volatile, which needs to be allowed for when considering the pattern of change over time.

The unemployment rate for people aged 16 and over for the UK was 4.9%, for the period April to June 2016. This is a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the previous period (January to March 2016).

The UK region with the highest rate was the North East, at 7.6%. This was also the region with the highest rate for the same period last year, at 8.2%. The next highest rates were seen in the West Midlands, at 6.1%, and Northern Ireland, at 6.0%. The region with the lowest rate was the East of England, at 3.3%, followed by the South East, at 3.7%.

The region with the largest decrease in the unemployment rate on the previous period (January to March 2016), was Scotland, at 1.0 percentage point, followed by Wales, at 0.5 percentage points, and the East of England, at 0.4 percentage points. Despite a number of recent fluctuations in the unemployment rate for Scotland, the underlying pattern has been flat for the last few years.

The largest increase in the unemployment rate on the previous period (January to March 2016) was seen in the West Midlands, at 0.6 percentage points, followed by London, at 0.1 percentage points. The rate for the North West was unchanged.

Most regions are showing decreases in the unemployment rate compared with a year ago, with the exception of the West Midlands, which has increased by 0.1 percentage points. The largest decrease was in Wales, at 1.5 percentage points, followed by the East of England, at 1.3 percentage points.

We are currently unable to produce the interactive chart relating to unemployment rate by government region, due to compatibility issues. We aim to develop an improved version of this in the near future.  

Where to find data about unemployment

Unemployment estimates are available for each region in Dataset HI00 – Headline LFS indicators for all UK regions and HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tab 2(2)), and Datasets LI01 to LI05 – Local indicators for sub-regional areas of Great Britain, for further estimate breakdowns by age or geographies.

These tables contain data produced from the LFS and APS. A note in the section Understanding and working with Labour Market Statistics on the relationship between the LFS and APS entitled What is the relationship between the APS and the LFS? is included in this bulletin.

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9. Claimant Count (experimental statistics)

Special note: Changes to the Claimant Count

In editions of this statistical bulletin prior to June 2015, the headline measure of the Claimant Count included claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) only. Since the June 2015 edition, the headline measure of the Claimant Count includes some claimants of Universal Credit as well as JSA claimants. These Universal Credit estimates are still being developed by the Department for Work and Pensions. We have therefore decided that the Claimant Count estimates, including Universal Credit (which have been published as an alternative measure since July 2014), will continue to be designated as experimental statistics even though they are now the headline measure.

What is the Claimant Count?

The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed:

  • from April 2015, the Claimant Count includes claimants of Universal Credit who are required to seek and be available for work, as well as all JSA claimants
  • between May 2013 and March 2015, the Claimant Count includes all out-of-work Universal Credit claimants as well as all JSA claimants
  • between October 1996 and April 2013, the Claimant Count is a count of the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • between February 1971 (when comparable estimates start) and September 1996, it is an estimate of the number of people who would have claimed unemployment-related benefits if Jobseeker’s Allowance had existed at that time

The Claimant Count includes people who claim unemployment-related benefits but who do not receive payment. For example, some claimants will have had their benefits stopped for a limited period of time by Jobcentre Plus. Some people claim JSA in order to receive National Insurance Credits.

See Notes for Claimant Count at the end of this section and Background notes for further details.

Regional Claimant Count

The seasonally adjusted Claimant Count rate for the UK was 2.2% in July 2016, remaining unchanged from June 2016, with the level down 8,600.

The UK region with the highest rate was the North East, at 4.1%: unchanged from the previous month. The next highest rates were in Northern Ireland, at 4.0%, and Wales, at 2.9%. Northern Ireland was the region with the highest rate for the same period last year, at 4.8%.

The region with the lowest rate was the South East, at 1.3%, followed by the South West, at 1.4% and the East of England, at 1.5%. The largest decrease in the Claimant Count level compared with the previous month (June 2016) was seen in the North West, with a decrease of 2,300, followed by the East of England, which decreased by 1,200. All regions of the UK saw a decrease, with the South East showing the smallest decrease, of 100.

Over the last 12 months the average monthly change in the Claimant Count rates decreased in 7 of the 12 regions in the UK, with the South East and Scotland unchanged. There was an average increase of 0.01 of a percentage point in both the South West and the West Midlands, and 0.02 percentage points in the North East. Northern Ireland had the largest change, with an average decrease of 0.06 percentage points per month.

The Claimant Count levels for men are showing decreases for the majority of regions of the UK. The only increase in the Claimant Count level for men was in the West Midlands, which increased by 100. The levels for women are showing also showing decreases for most regions with the exception of the North East, which increase by 100.

Notes for Claimant Count

  1. The Claimant Count now includes people claiming Universal Credit. The background notes to this statistical bulletin have further details.
  2. The Claimant Count includes people who claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) but who do not receive payment. For example, some claimants will have had their benefits stopped for a limited period of time by Jobcentre Plus; this is known as “sanctioning”. Some people claim JSA in order to receive National Insurance Credits.
  3. An article explaining how unemployment and the Claimant Count series are defined and measured and the difference between the 2 series is available, along with an article to help users interpret labour market statistics and highlight some common misunderstandings.
  4. Universal Credit has not yet been introduced in Northern Ireland and so the "Claimant Count" for Northern Ireland will only be the number of people claiming JSA.
  5. Estimates of Claimant Count by region are available on a comparable basis back to April 1974. The figures from April 1974 to September 1996 are estimates of the number of people who would have claimed unemployment-related benefits if JSA had existed. The national records start in 1971, and some data back to 1881 (which do not have National Statistics status) are available from the “Historic Data” worksheet within Dataset CLA01 – Claimant Count (experimental statistics) in the UK Labour Market bulletin.

Where to find data about Claimant Count

Claimant Count estimates are available for each region at Datasets HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tab 7) and at Datasets CC01 – Claimant Count by unitary and local authority, CC02 – Claimant Count by parliamentary constituency, CC02.1 – Claimant Count for constituencies of the Scottish parliament and CC03 – Claimant Count for Local Enterprise Partnerships, for further estimate breakdowns by geographies.

Datasets showing estimates of JSA are still available at HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tabs 7(1), 8 and 8(2)), and in Datasets JSA01 – Jobseeker’s Allowance for local and unitary authorities in the UK, JSA02 – Jobseeker’s Allowance for Westminster parliamentary constituencies in the UK, JSA02.1 – Jobseeker’s Allowance for constituencies of the Scottish parliament and JSA03 – Jobseeker’s Allowance for Local Enterprise Partnerships in England, for further estimate breakdowns by sub-regional geographic areas. However, these estimates are not designated as National Statistics. The back data for JSA, at a regional level, is available from Nomis. Workplace-based denominators used for the Claimant Count are also available at Dataset (S03) – Claimant Count denominators.

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10. Economic inactivity

Economically inactive people are not in employment but do not meet the internationally accepted definition of unemployment. This is because they have not been seeking work within the last 4 weeks and/or they are unable to start work within the next 2 weeks.

A glossary is also available to explain the main labour market terms.

Regional economic inactivity

The economic inactivity rate for people aged from 16 to 64 for the UK was 21.6% for the period April to June 2016. This is a decrease of 0.2 percentage point compared to the previous period (January to March 2016). The UK region with the highest rate was Northern Ireland, at 26.4%, followed by Wales, at 24.4%. The region with the lowest rate was the South East, at 18.6%, followed by the South West, at 18.9%, and the East of England, at 19.1%.

The region with the largest increase in the economic inactivity rate on the previous period (January to March 2016) was the North West, with an increase of 0.9 percentage points, followed by Wales, at 0.8 percentage points, and Yorkshire and The Humber at 0.1 percentage points. The West Midlands and East Midlands had the largest decrease in the rate, both with a decrease of 1.0 percentage point. The South East was the only region that saw no change in the economic inactivity rate, compared with the previous period.

Over the year, the region with the largest increase in the economic inactivity rate was the South West, with an increase of 0.8 percentage points, followed by Wales, with an increase of 0.5 percentage points. The largest decrease in the rate was in the North East, at 2.9 percentage points, followed by the West Midlands, at 1.5 percentage points.

Northern Ireland also had the highest economic inactivity rate, at 27.5%, in the same period in 2015. The current rate is now 4.8 percentage points higher than the UK rate.

Where to find data about economic inactivity

Economic inactivity estimates are available for each region at Dataset HI00 – Headline LFS indicators for all UK regions and HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tabs 10 and 11), and Datasets LI01 to LI05 – Local indicators for sub-regional areas of Great Britain, for further estimate breakdowns by age, reason or geographies.

These tables contain data produced from the LFS and APS. A note in the section Understanding and working with labour market statistics on the relationship between the LFS and APS entitled What is the relationship between the APS and the LFS? is included in this bulletin.

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11. Local labour market indicators

Local labour market indicators cover employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, Claimant Count and jobs density, for sub-regional geographic areas such as local and unitary authorities, counties and regions in the UK for the most recent 12-month period available of the Annual Population Survey (APS). The job density of an area is the number of jobs per head, of resident population, aged 16 to 64.

Indicators from the Annual Population Survey (first published on 20 July 2016)

For the period April 2015 to March 2016, the local authorities with the highest employment rate in Great Britain were the Shetland Islands, at 89.1%, Hambleton, at 88.2%, South Oxfordshire, at 87.7%, and Derbyshire Dales, at 86.9%. Birmingham is the local authority with the lowest rate, at 60.4%, followed by Liverpool, at 60.8% and Rochdale, at 63.0%. For the same period last year, the highest rates were in the Orkney Islands, at 89.3%, and Surrey Heath, at 86.6%.

For the period April 2015 to March 2016, the local authority with the highest unemployment rate in Great Britain was Middlesbrough, at 10.1%, followed by Wolverhampton, at 10.0%, and Birmingham, at 9.6%. The local authorities with the lowest rate were Derbyshire Dales, at 1.9%, followed by Stratford-on-Avon at 2.0%, and South Northamptonshire, at 2.2%. These were followed by 3 local authorities at 2.3%, 2 local authorities at 2.4%, and a further 44 local authorities all under 3.0%. For the same period last year, there were only 20 local authorities with a rate of less than 3.0%.

Indicators using Claimant Count data (experimental statistics)

In July 2016 the UK local authorities (excluding the Isles of Scilly) with the lowest proportion of the population aged from 16 to 64 years claiming JSA or work-seeking Universal Credit were Stratford-on-Avon, Hart in Hampshire and Mid Sussex, all at 0.4%,. These were followed by 16 local authorities at 0.5%, and 28 other local authorities at 0.6%. There were a further 58 local authorities with a proportion of less than 1.0%.

The proportion was highest in Derry City and Strabane, at 5.9%, followed by Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, both at 4.6%, and North Ayrshire and Birmingham, both at 4.3%. There were a further 28 local authorities with a proportion of 3.0% or more in the UK.

The local authority map in Figure 9 reflects the Claimant Count for the total amount of people claiming JSA and Universal Credit only. Due to technical issues it is not currently possible to show the latest Northern Ireland districts on this map. In the meantime we will continue to show the Northern Ireland districts as they were prior to the April 2015 reorganisation. We are also unable to produce the interactive version of this map, due to compatibility issues. We aim to develop an improved version of this map in the near future.

Job densities

The job density of an area is the number of jobs per head, of resident population, aged 16 to 64. In 2014, the highest jobs density in Great Britain was the City of London, at 84.36, and the lowest was East Renfrewshire, at 0.42. Westminster (4.32) and Camden (2.26), both in London, were the next highest jobs densities. The highest jobs density outside London was the Isles of Scilly at 2.15. After East Renfrewshire, the lowest jobs densities were Lewisham, at 0.43, followed by East Dunbartonshire and Waltham Forest, both at 0.46, and Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham, both at 0.47.

Where to find data about local labour market indicators

APS estimates are available at Datasets LI01 to LI05 – Local indicators for sub-regional areas of Great Britain and Claimant Count estimates are available at Datasets CC01 – Claimant Count by unitary and local authority and CC02 – Claimant Count by parliamentary constituency, CC02.1 – Claimant Count for constituencies of the Scottish parliament, and CC03 – Claimant Count for Local Enterprise Partnerships in this statistical bulletin.

These tables contain data produced from the APS. A note in the section Understanding and working with labour market statistics entitled What is the relationship between the APS and the LFS? is included in this bulletin.

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12. Where to find more information about labour market statistics

Other datasets within the regional labour market release:

Guide to tables in regional labour market statistical bulletin

Summary of headline indicators (S01)

Sampling variability and revisions summary (S02)

Model based estimates of unemployment (M01)

Estimates of employment by age (experimental statistics) (X01)

Estimates of unemployment by age (experimental statistics) (X02)

Estimates of economic inactivity by age (experimental statistics) (X03)

Regional public and private sector employment (RPUB1)

Other regularly published labour market releases:

We have also produced:

Historic articles published in Economic and Labour Market Review and Labour Market Trends

Articles about labour market statistics were published in Labour Market Trends (up until 2006) and in Economic and Labour Market Review (from 2007 to 2011). Editions of Labour Market Trends are available from July 2001 until January 2006, when the publication was discontinued. Editions of Economic and Labour Market Review are available from the first edition, published in February 2007, up until the last edition, published in May 2011.  

Quality information

One indication of the reliability of the main indicators in this bulletin can be obtained by monitoring the size of revisions. These summary measures are available in Dataset S02 Regional labour market: Sampling variability and revisions summary spreadsheet and show the size of revisions over the last 5 years.

The revised data may be subject to sampling or other sources of error. Our standard presentation is to show 5 years’ worth of revisions (that is, 60 observations for a monthly series, 20 for a quarterly series). Further information on the quality of and methods for workforce jobs estimates can be found in the quality and methodology information report.

Other quality information

Quality and methodology reports for labour market statistics are available. Further information about the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is available from:

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13 .Background notes

  1. Changes in this month’s bulletin

    There have been revisions to the Claimant Count back to April 2015. These revisions result from improvements to the range of Universal Credit claimants within the Claimant Count. An article explaining these Revisions to the Universal Credit component of the Claimant Count is available on our website. While these revisions will result in improved estimates, the Claimant Count statistics will continue to be designated as experimental as they are still being developed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

  2. Next month’s bulletin

    There are no changes currently planned for next month’s release.

  3. Incorporation of estimates of Universal Credit into the Claimant Count

    The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. Between October 1996 and April 2013, the only unemployment-related benefit in the UK was JSA, and the Claimant Count was therefore a count of the number of people claiming JSA.

    The Universal Credit programme started on 29 April 2013, with the introduction of this new benefit in one Jobcentre Plus office. This has since been extended to some claimants in all Jobcentre Plus offices across Great Britain. GOV.UK has a list of Jobcentres where Universal Credit is available.

    Universal Credit is replacing a number of means-tested benefits including the means-tested element of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). It will not replace contributory-based JSA.

    Following a consultation in 2012, it was decided that, with the introduction of Universal Credit, the Claimant Count would include:

    • people claiming contribution-based JSA (which is not affected by the introduction of Universal Credit)
    • people claiming income-based JSA during the transition period while this benefit is being gradually phased out
    • people claiming Universal Credit who are not working and who are subject to a full set of labour market jobseeker requirements, that is, they are required to be actively seeking work and available to start work

    The experimental estimates of Universal Credit are still being developed by the Department for Work and Pensions and they currently include Universal Credit claimants who are required to seek and be available for work. This will include a small number of claimants in work with very low earnings. These experimental Claimant Count estimates are available at Datasets HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tab 7).

    It is not currently possible to produce estimates of inflows and outflows for the new measure of the Claimant Count; however, estimates of JSA inflows and outflows continue to be available at Datasets HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tab 7(1)).

    Similarly, it is not currently possible to produce a regional age or duration breakdown for the new measure of the Claimant Count. Estimates of JSA by age and duration continue to be available and are now published at Datasets HI01 to HI12 – Headline indicators for individual UK regions (Tabs 8 and 8(2)).

    A breakdown for local geographies for the new measure of the Claimant Count is now available at Datasets CC01 – Claimant Count by unitary and local authority, CC02 – Claimant Count by parliamentary constituency, CC02.1 – Claimant Count for constituencies of the Scottish parliament and CC03 – Claimant Count for Local Enterprise Partnerships. However, estimates of JSA continue to be available and are published at Datasets LI01 to LI05 – Local indicators for sub-regional areas of Great Britain and Datasets JSA01 to JSA03 – Jobseeker’s Allowance for sub-regional areas of the UK.

    The JSA estimates are no longer designated as National Statistics because they are no longer the best estimate of the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits, as explained in correspondence between the National Statistician and the UK Statistics Authority:

    The article Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit and the Claimant Count: Changes to the measurement of the Claimant Count provides further information.

  4. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the UK Statistics Authority website.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Bob Watson
subnational.labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455070