Skip to content

Statistical bulletin: Regional Labour Market, March 2015 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 18 March 2015 Download PDF

Main Points

  • The employment rate in Great Britain was highest in the East of England (76.6%) and lowest in Wales (69.7%).
  • The unemployment rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (7.7%) and lowest in the South West and the South East (4.5%).
  • The inactivity rate in Great Britain was highest in Wales (25.6%) and lowest in the East of England (19.3%).
  • The headline Claimant Count rate in Great Britain was highest in the North East (4.0%) and lowest in the South East (1.3%).

In this bulletin:

This bulletin shows the latest main labour market statistics for the regions and countries of Great Britain, along with statistics for local authorities, travel-to-work areas and parliamentary constituencies.
Data for Northern Ireland are available separately.

Updated this month
Labour Force Survey estimates for the period November 2014 to January 2015.
Claimant Count for February 2015.
Workforce Jobs estimates for December 2014.
Public and private sector employment for December 2014.
Annual Population Survey estimates for the period October 2013 to September 2014 (see background note).

Overview of regional labour market published 18 March 2015

The employment rate estimates for those aged 16 to 64, for the 3 months to January 2015, compared to the 3 months to October 2014, showed increases for nearly all of the regions and countries of the UK.

The largest increases in the employment rate estimates were for Wales, at 1.2 percentage points and the West Midlands, at 1.1 percentage points. For both regions along with most other regions, the general pattern shows steady growth in the employment estimates.

In regions where the general pattern is not for steady growth, the recent estimates suggest a flatter pattern. This pattern can be seen in the 3 regions with the highest employment rates: the East of England at 76.6%, South East at 76.5% and South West at 76.3%. The South West is the only region in Great Britain to have a decrease in the latest employment rate estimate at 0.1 percentage points. Additionally Northern Ireland also had a 0.5 percentage point decrease.

The employment levels for the North East, North West, West Midlands and London are all at record highs, with many other regions close to record highs. The employment rate for the North East, at 70.2%, is also at a record high.

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

There were no large increases in the unemployment rate estimates for the 3 months to January 2015, compared to the 3 months to October 2014.

The largest decreases in the unemployment rate estimates for the 3 months to January 2015, compared to the 3 months to October 2014, were for the North East at 1.4 percentage points, Yorkshire and The Humber, at 1.1 percentage points and Wales, at 0.9 percentage points. Similarly to employment, for all these and most other regions, the pattern is showing a steady decrease in the unemployment rate. Again where the rate is not falling, it is flat.

All regions are showing decreases in the unemployment rate compared with a year ago.

The unemployment rate for the North East remains the highest in the UK at 7.7%, followed by the West Midlands at 6.5%.

The Claimant Count for February 2015 compared with January 2015 is showing decreases in the count for both men and women across all regions of the UK.

Employment

The employment rate for people aged from 16 to 64 for the UK was 73.3%, for the period November to January 2015.

The regions with the highest rate in Great Britain were the East of England, at 76.6%, followed by the South East, at 76.5% and the South West, at 76.3%. The regions with the lowest rate were Wales, at 69.7%, followed by the North East, at 70.2%, and the North West and the West Midlands, both at 71.2%.

The regions with the largest increase in the employment rate on the previous period (August 2014 to October 2014), were in Wales, with an increase of 1.2 percentage points, followed by the West Midlands, with an increase of 1.1 percentage points and the North East, with an increase of 0.8 percentage points. The only decrease in the employment rate was in the South West, with a decrease of 0.1 percentage points. The South East, the East Midlands and Scotland all remained unchanged. The UK employment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points.

Figure 1: Employment rates by region and comparison year on year, November 2014 to January 2015, seasonally adjusted

Figure 1: Employment rates by region and comparison year on year, November 2014 to January 2015, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Over the year, the regions with the largest increase in the employment rate were the North West, with an increase of 2.2 percentage points, followed by the North East and West Midlands, both with an increase of 2.0 percentage points. The only decrease in the employment rate was in Wales, at 1.2 percentage points. The South East had the smallest increase of 0.2 percentage points.

Unemployment

The unemployment rate for people aged 16 and over for the UK was 5.7%, for the period November to January 2015.

The regions with the highest rate in Great Britain were the North East, at 7.7%, followed by the West Midlands, at 6.5% and Wales, the North West and London, all at 6.2%. The regions with the lowest rate were the South West and the South East, both at 4.5%, followed by the East Midlands, at 5.0%.

The regions with the largest decrease in the unemployment rate on the previous period (August 2014 to October 2014), were the North East, at 1.4 percentage points, followed by Yorkshire and The Humber, at 1.1 percentage points and Wales, at 0.9 percentage points. There were 2 regions with an increase in the unemployment rate: Scotland, at 0.2 percentage points and the East of England, at 0.1 percentage point. The unemployment rate in the South East remained unchanged. The UK rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points.

Figure 2: Unemployment rates by region, November 2014 to January 2015, seasonally adjusted

Figure 2: Unemployment rates by region, November 2014 to January 2015, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Over the year, all regions showed a decrease in the unemployment rate. The largest decreases were in Yorkshire and The Humber, at 2.5 percentage points, London, at 2.2 percentage points and the East Midlands, at 2.0 percentage points. The smallest decrease in the unemployment rate was in Wales, at 0.4 percentage points.

An interactive chart showing regional unemployment rates over time is available on our website.

Workforce Jobs

Workforce Jobs increased in 7 of the 11 regions of Great Britain between September 2014 and December 2014. The largest increase of 40,000 was in the South East, followed by the South West, which increased by 30,000. The largest decrease of 14,000 was in Yorkshire and The Humber, followed by the East of England and Scotland, which both decreased by 10,000.

The East Midlands had the highest proportion of jobs in the production sector, at 13.7%, whilst London had the lowest proportion, at 2.9%. For the service sector, London had the highest proportion, at 91.8%, whilst Wales had the lowest proportion, at 78.0%.

Figure 3: Workforce Jobs by broad industry group and by region, December 2014, seasonally adjusted

Figure 3: Workforce Jobs by broad industry group and by region, December 2014, seasonally adjusted
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Jobseeker's Allowance

The seasonally adjusted headline Claimant Count rate for the UK was 2.4% in February 2015, down 0.1 percentage point from January 2015, with the level down 31,000.

The region with the highest rate in Great Britain was the North East, at 4.0%, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous month. The next highest rates were in Yorkshire and The Humber, at 3.3%, Wales, at 3.2% and the West Midlands, at 3.0%.

The regions with the lowest rate were the South East, at 1.3%, the South West, at 1.4% and the East of England, at 1.7%.

Figure 4: Claimant Count rates by region, February 2015, seasonally adjusted

Figure 4: Claimant Count rates by region, February 2015, seasonally adjusted
Source: Department for Work and Pensions

Download chart

Local Authority Labour Market Indicators

For the period October 2013 to September 2014, the local authorities with the highest employment rate in Great Britain, were Oadby and Wigston, at 85.8%, Huntingdonshire, Dartford and North Dorset, all at 85.5%, and the Orkney Islands, at 85.0%. Pendle in Lancashire and Newham, were the only local authorities with a rate lower than 60%; at 56.8% and 59.6%, respectively.

For the period October 2013 to September 2014, the local authority with the highest unemployment rate in Great Britain, was Middlesbrough, at 12.5%, followed by Kingston upon Hull, Liverpool and Hartlepool, all at 12.1% and Wolverhampton, at 11.8%. There were 7 local authorities with a rate of less than 3%: South Northamptonshire, at 2.6%, Stratford-on-Avon, at 2.7%, Mid Sussex, at 2.8%, and the Shetland Islands, Hart in Hampshire, Mole Valley and Eden in Cumbria, all at 2.9%.

In February 2015, the local authorities with the lowest proportion of the population, aged from 16 to 64 years, claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Great Britain, were the Isles of Scilly, at 0.4%, followed by Mid Sussex, South Oxfordshire, Hart in Hampshire and Harrogate, all at 0.5%. There were 20 local authorities, at 0.6% and a further 76 local authorities, with a proportion of 1.0% or less. The proportion was highest in Kingston upon Hull, at 5.0%, followed by Wolverhampton, at 4.7% and Middlesbrough, at 4.6%. There were a further 9 local authorities in Great Britain, all with a proportion of 4.0% or more.

Figure 5: Claimant Count Map, February 2015

Claimant Count rates by local authority varied between Isles of Scilly 0.4% and Kingston upon Hull, City of 5.0%

Download map

  • PNG
    (175.4 Kb)

An interactive version of this map showing Claimant Count proportions by local authority over time is available on our website. This map also shows Claimant Count proportions for males, females, 18 to 24 year olds and those claiming for over 12 months.

The job density of an area is the number of jobs per head, of resident population, aged 16 to 64. In 2012, the highest jobs density in Great Britain was the City of London, at 77.46 and the lowest was East Renfrewshire, at 0.38. Westminster (4.25), Camden (2.11) and Tower Hamlets, Islington and Kensington and Chelsea (all 1.30), all in London, were the next highest jobs densities. The highest jobs density outside London was Watford at 1.25. After East Renfrewshire, the lowest jobs densities were Lewisham (0.39) and Waltham Forest and East Dunbartonshire, both at 0.43, followed by Newham and Haringey, both at 0.44.

Index of Tables

LFS headline indicators (Employment, unemployment and inactivity):

Headline Indicators for All Regions (HI00) (7.43 Mb Excel sheet)

LFS headline indicators (Employment, unemployment and inactivity); Employment and Workforce Jobs estimates; Claimant Count; and Economic Activity and Inactivity estimates for each region are available in the following tables:


Headline Indicators for North East (HI01) (2.26 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for North West (HI02) (2.03 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for Yorkshire and The Humber (HI03) (2.46 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for East Midlands (HI04) (2.61 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for West Midlands (HI05) (2.42 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for East of England (HI06) (2.4 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for London (HI07) (2.04 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for South East (HI08) (2.02 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for South West (HI09) (2.02 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for Wales (HI10) (2.25 Mb Excel sheet)

Headline Indicators for Scotland (HI11) (2.44 Mb Excel sheet)

The following tables contain local labour market indicators for all regions:


Local Indicators for Unitary and Local Authorities (LI01) (246 Kb Excel sheet)

Local Indicators for Parliamentary Constituencies (LI02) (312 Kb Excel sheet)

Local Indicators for Constituencies of the Scottish Parliament (LI02.1) (114 Kb Excel sheet)

Local Indicators for Travel-to-Work Areas (LI03) (176 Kb Excel sheet)

Local Indicators for NUTS3 areas (LI04) (176 Kb Excel sheet)

Local Indicators for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LI05) (100.5 Kb Excel sheet)

The following tables contain local Claimant Count data for all regions:


Claimant Count by Unitary and Local Authority (JSA01) (256.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Claimant Count by Parliamentary Constituency (JSA02) (623 Kb Excel sheet)

Claimant Count by Constituencies of the Scottish Parliament (JSA02.1) (123 Kb Excel sheet)

Claimant Count by Local Enterprise Partnership (JSA03) (101.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Other tables:


Summary of Headline Indicators (S01) (72.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Sampling Variability and Revisions Summary (S02) (61 Kb Excel sheet)

Claimant Count Denominators (S03) (69 Kb Excel sheet)

Model Based Estimates of Unemployment (M01) (2.76 Mb Excel sheet)

Estimates of Employment by Age (Experimental Statistics) (X01) (6.86 Mb Excel sheet)

Estimates of Unemployment by Age (Experimental Statistics) (X02) (6.82 Mb Excel sheet)

Estimates of Inactivity by Age (Experimental Statistics) (X03) (6.84 Mb Excel sheet)

Regional public and private sector employment (RPUB1) (215 Kb Excel sheet)

Background notes

  1. This Month’s Bulletin
    Revisions to Annual Population Survey estimates 
    We have revised estimates derived from the Annual Population Survey (including estimates of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity), in this edition of the Statistical Bulletin, as a result of taking on board population estimates based on the 2011 Census. Estimates are revised back to January to December 2004. These revisions are in line with similar revisions to Labour Force Survey estimates published in the October 2014 UK Labour Market and Regional Labour Market Statistical Bulletins. An article (1.34 Mb Pdf) , further explaining this re-weighting exercise is also available.

  2. Next Month’s Bulletin
    There are no planned changes to next month’s bulletin.

  3. Introduction of Universal Credit
    On 29 April 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) started a Pathfinder for Universal Credit which created the first jobseeker Universal Credit claimants. This has been extended to further Jobcentre Plus Offices (JCP) across Great Britain. Further information for dates of roll out to Universal Credit can be found in the List of Jobcentre Plus Offices under Universal Credit. (90.6 Kb Pdf)

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

    The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. Since October 1996, it has been a count of the number of people claiming JSA. Following ONS consultation in 2012, it was agreed 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 earning and who are subject to a full set of labour market jobseeker requirements, that is, required to be actively seeking work and available to start work

    Since July 2014, we have published an indicative adjusted Claimant Count including experimental estimates of claimants of Universal Credit as well as JSA claimants at data table CLA03 (70.5 Kb Excel sheet) . From January 2015, these statistics are also published in Table 10(1) of the UK Labour Market Statistical Bulletin. A version of this table for the North West is included in this release as part of data table HI02 (2.03 Mb Excel sheet) . Numbers of claimants of Universal Credit for more detailed geographies are available from the DWP Universal Credit - monthly experimental official statistics.

    ONS will include jobseeker Universal Credit claims in the Claimant Count statistics as soon as possible.

  4. Publication Policy
    A list of the job titles of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this Statistical Bulletin is available on our website.

  5. Quality Issues
    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 the Regional Labour Market Sampling Variability spreadsheet (61 Kb Excel sheet) available with this bulletin and show the size of revisions over the last 5 years. The revised data itself may be subject to sampling or other sources of error. The ONS 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 Summary Quality Report. (295.4 Kb Pdf)

  6. Other Quality information
    Quality and Methodology Information papers for labour market statistics are available on our website. Further information about the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is available from:

  7. Definitions and Concepts
    An article explaining how unemployment and the Claimant Count (141 Kb Pdf) series are defined and measured and the difference between the two series is available on our website, along with an article to help users interpret labour market statistics and highlight some common misunderstandings. A more detailed Guide to Labour Market Statistics is also available on our website.

  8. Sampling Variability
    Very few statistical revisions arise as a result of ‘errors’ in the popular sense of the word. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical ‘error’ but in this context the word refers to the uncertainty.

    Some data in the bulletin are based on statistical samples and, as such, are subject to sampling variability. If many samples were drawn, each would give different results. The ranges shown in the Regional Labour Market Sampling Variability spreadsheet (61 Kb Excel sheet) , available with this bulletin, represent ‘95% confidence intervals’. It is expected that in 95% of samples the range would contain the true value.

  9. Special Events 
    We have published commentary, analysis and policy on "Special Events" which may affect statistical outputs. For full details go to the Special Events page on our website.

  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

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;
    • are well explained and readily accessible;
    • are produced according to sound methods; and
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Bob Watson +44 (0)1633 455070 Regional and local data/Claimant Count bob.watson@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Nicholas Palmer +44 (0)1633 455839 Regional and national Labour Force Survey nicholas.palmer@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Mark Williams +44 (0)1633 456728 Workforce Jobs mark.williams@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.