Labour market update for London – May 2017

London employment rate falls, now level with same point a year ago

London’s employment rate (i.e. the proportion of London’s resident working age population in employment) in the three months to March 2017 fell by 0.3 percentage points on the previous quarter to 73.3 per cent, though this is unchanged on the year. This is the fourth successive month London’s employment rate has fallen, which can be seen in the chart on the next page. However, London has had historically high employment rates in recent months so the current rate remains high compared to long-run levels. By contrast, the UK employment rate is up both on the quarter and the year, and stands at 74.8 per cent.

London’s ILO unemployment rate in the three months to March 2017 was 6.1 per cent. This is up 0.6 percentage points on the previous quarter and up 0.4 percentage points on the previous year. In comparison, the UK figures, show unemployment down on the quarter and the year, standing at 4.6 per cent. In both London and the UK the timelier Claimant Count** showed a small (0.1 percentage point) increase on the previous month in the numbers claiming unemployment related benefits. The Claimant Rate for April 2017 2.1 per cent in London.

Also published today are data on types of work. In 2016 (full year) self-employment comprised 18.9 per cent of employment in London, up from 18.1 per cent in 2015. Self-employment makes a greater share of male employment (22.9 per cent) than female employment (14.0 per cent) although the share of self-employment for women increased faster (1 percentage point) than for men (0.4 percentage point) between 2015 and 2016. The proportions of London part-time workers and temporary employees has been relatively stable over the last 2 years (and in 2016 was 22.7 and 7.0 per cent, respectively). The proportion of part-time workers that were not in full-time work (and also the proportion of temporary workers not in permanent jobs) because they could not find such work (i.e. representing involuntary action) has fallen in recent years.

Workforce jobs numbers were not updated this month. The latest estimated published in March showed that the number of jobs located in London in Q4 2016 (i.e. whether or not they are taken by residents of London) reached 5.73 million. This was a near record high.

*All figures are seasonally adjusted. Rates are based on working age (16 – 64 male and female), with the exception of unemployment rate which is age 16 and above.

** ONS have ceased reporting on the claimant count as an official statistic as the roll-out of Universal Credit replaces Jobseekers’ Allowance. This is because of differences in definitional and administrative processes between the two benefits, and affects seasonality. We will continue to include the claimant count figure in these updates but will remove the year-on-year comparisons. This will be kept under review.

Employment rate and unemployment rate charts