ONS COVID-19 Briefing: Labour Market in the Regions of the UK

Briefing: 17th July 2020 Labour market in the regions of the UK: June 2020

Regional (Released 16th July 2020)

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

Note: Labour Force Survey estimates presented in this bulletin are based on interviews that took place throughout the period from the start of February to the end of April 2020. Consequently, around a third of the interviews relate to the period prior to the implementation of COVID-19 social distancing measures.

Key Points:

  • For the three months ending May 2020, the highest employment rate estimate in the UK was in the South East (79.7%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (71.6%).
  • The highest unemployment rate estimate in the UK was in London (5.1%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (2.4%).
  • The highest economic inactivity rate estimate in the UK was in Northern Ireland (26.6%) and the lowest was in the South East (17.8%).
  • Between December 2019 and March 2020, the largest estimated increase in workforce jobs in the UK was in the East of England at 35,000, while the largest decrease was in the South East at 61,000.
  • In March 2020, the region with the highest estimated proportion of workforce jobs in the services sector was London at 91.8%, while the East Midlands had the highest proportion of jobs in the production sector at 13.2%.
  • The highest average estimated actual weekly hours worked, for the 12 months ending March 2020, was in London at 33.3 hours and the lowest was in the North East at 30.5 hours.

Context:

Employment

The employment rate estimate for people aged between 16 and 64 years for the UK was 76.4% for the period March to May 2020. This is a decrease of 0.2 percentage points compared with the previous quarter (December 2019 to February 2020).

The UK region with the highest employment rate estimate was the South East at 79.7%. he next highest employment rate estimate for March to May 2020 was seen in the South West at 78.8%, followed by the East of England at 78.3%.

The employment rate estimate for the East was 78.3% for Feb to April 2020, down from the equivalent period last year of 78.9%.

Workforce jobs

For March 2020, there were an estimated 35.83 million workforce jobs in the UK; this is 289,000 more than a year ago (March 2019) and 35,000 more than last quarter (December 2019).

Workforce jobs increased in 9 of the 12 regions of the UK between March 2019 and March 2020. The largest estimated increase of 94,000 was in London, followed by Scotland at 67,000. The largest estimated decrease was seen in the South East, at 71,000.

Compared with last quarter (December 2019), only 8 out of 12 regions of the UK saw an increase in workforce jobs, the largest being in the East of England, at 35,000. The largest estimated decrease was in the South East at 61,000.

Actual hours worked

For the period April 2019 to March 2020, the UK region with the highest estimated average actual weekly hours worked (for all workers) was London at 33.3 hours, followed by Northern Ireland at 33.1 hours. The North East had the lowest number of hours worked at 30.5 hours.

Average (mean) estimated actual weekly hours of work in the East for men was 36.45 and women 27.12.

Unemployment

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

The unemployment rate estimate for people aged 16 years and over for the UK was 3.9% for the period March to May 2020; this is largely unchanged compared with the previous quarter (December 2019 to February 2020).

The UK region with the highest unemployment rate estimate for March to May 2020 was London at 5.1%, followed by the North East at 5.0%. The region with the lowest estimated unemployment rate was Northern Ireland at 2.4%.

The largest increases in the unemployment rate estimate on the previous quarter (December 2019 to February 2020) were seen in London and Scotland, both at 0.6 percentage points, followed by the South West at 0.3 percentage points.

The region with the largest increase in the unemployment rate estimate over the year was Scotland at 1.1 percentage points, followed by the East of England, London and the South West, all at 0.8 percentage points.

The Easts unemployment rate for March to May 2020 was 3.61%.

Economic inactivity

The estimated economic inactivity rate for people aged between 16 and 64 years for the UK was 20.4% for the period March to May 2020; this is an increase of 0.2 percentage points compared with the previous quarter (December 2019 to February 2020).

The UK region with the highest estimated rate was Northern Ireland at 26.6%, followed by Wales at 23.1%. Northern Ireland also had the highest economic inactivity rate, at 25.9%, in the same period the previous year.

The estimated economic inactivity rate for the East between March and May 2020 was 18.7%, unchanged from the equivalent period last year.

Briefing date: 16 June 2020

Data published: 16 June 2020

Labour market in the regions of the UK: June 2020

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

Note: Labour Force Survey estimates presented in this bulletin are based on interviews that took place throughout the period from the start of February to the end of April 2020. Consequently, around half of the interviews relate to the period prior to the implementation of COVID-19 social distancing measures.

This is the latest briefing on the Healthy Suffolk website, but the ONS may have published further updates. You can find historical information and any further updates on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website. 

Key Points:

  • Highest employment rate estimate in the UK was in the South East (79.5%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (71.6%)
  • Highest unemployment rate estimate in the UK was in the North East (5.2%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (2.3%)
  • Highest economic inactivity rate estimate in the UK was in Northern Ireland (26.7%) and the lowest was in the South East (17.9%)
  • Largest estimated increase in workforce jobs in the UK was in the East of England at 35,000, while the largest decrease was in the South East at 61,000
  • In March 2020, the region with the highest estimated proportion of workforce jobs in the services sector was London at 91.8%, while the East Midlands had the highest proportion of jobs in the production sector at 13.2%

Context:

Employment

  • The employment rate estimate for people aged between 16 and 64 years for the UK was 76.4% for the period February to April 2020. This is a decrease of 0.1 percentage points compared with the previous quarter (November 2019 to January 2020).
  • The largest increase in the employment rate estimate, compared with November 2019 to January 2020, was in the North East at 2.1 percentage points, followed by Yorkshire and The Humber at 1.0 percentage point.
  • The largest decrease in the employment rate estimate, compared with November 2019 to January 2020, was for the South West at 1.0 percentage point, followed by the West Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all at 0.7 percentage points.
  • The employment rate estimate for the East was 78.0% for Feb to April 2020, down from the equivalent period last year of 79.2%.

Workforce jobs

  • For March 2020, there were an estimated 35.83 million workforce jobs in the UK; this is 289,000 more than a year ago (March 2019) and 35,000 more than last quarter (December 2019).
  • Workforce jobs increased in 9 of the 12 regions of the UK between March 2019 and March 2020. The largest estimated increase of 94,000 was in London, followed by Scotland at 67,000. The largest estimated decrease was seen in the South East, at 71,000.
  • Compared with last quarter (December 2019), only 8 out of 12 regions of the UK saw an increase in workforce jobs, the largest being in the East of England, at 35,000. The largest estimated decrease was in the South East at 61,000.

Unemployment

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

  • The unemployment rate estimate for people aged 16 years and over for the UK was 3.9% for the period February to April 2020; this is largely unchanged compared with the previous quarter (November 2019 to January 2020).
  • The largest increase in the unemployment rate estimate on the previous quarter (November 2019 to January 2020) was seen in Scotland at 1.1 percentage points, followed by the West Midlands at 0.3 percentage points.
  • The largest decrease in the unemployment rate estimate was in the North East at 1.0 percentage point, down from 6.2% to 5.2%.
  • The region with the largest increase in the unemployment rate estimate over the year was Scotland at 1.3 percentage points, followed by the East of England at 0.7 percentage points.
  • The East has an unemployment rate estimate of 3.6%.

Economic inactivity

  • The estimated economic inactivity rate for people aged between 16 and 64 years for the UK was 20.5% for the period February to April 2020; this is an increase of 0.1 percentage points compared with the previous quarter (November 2019 to January 2020).
  • The UK region with the highest estimated rate was Northern Ireland at 26.7%, followed by Wales at 23.2%. Northern Ireland also had the highest economic inactivity rate, at 26.4%, in the same period the previous year. The current estimated rate in Northern Ireland is 6.2 percentage points higher than the UK rate.
  • The region with the lowest estimated rate was the South East at 17.9%, followed by the South West at 18.5%.
  • The East has an economic inactivity rate estimate of 18.9%.