Labour market update for London – October 2017

London employment rate remains at record high, and gap to UK narrows

London’s employment rate (i.e. the proportion of London’s residents aged 16-64 population in employment) in the three months to August 2017 increased by 0.9 percentage points on the previous quarter to 74.9 per cent. London’s employment rate is at its highest point since the series began in 1992. The employment rate is also up 1.6 percentage points on the year, which represents an additional 165,000 Londoners in employment (age 16 plus) compared to the same period last year.

The UK’s employment rate was also up on the quarter and on the year with it standing in the three months to August 2017 at 75.1 per cent. This was an increase of 0.2 percentage points on the previous quarter and 0.7 percentage points on the year. The gap between the London and UK employment rates in the three months to August 2017 was 0.2 percentage points. This is the smallest this gap there has been since the series began in 1992. To put this in context this gap had reached a high of 4.8 percentage points in the autumn of 2004, but has fallen in recent years, hovering around 1 percentage point since mid-2013.

London’s ILO unemployment rate in the three months to August 2017 was 4.9 per cent. This is down 0.6 percentage points on the previous quarter and down 1.1 percentage points on the previous year. The UK’s unemployment rate also fell slightly on the quarter (by 0.2 percentage points) to 4.3 per cent.

At the UK level, in the three months to August 2017 self-employment comprised 15.1 per cent of overall employment (age 16+). For more detailed analysis such as this at the London level, the ONS publishes data on a twelve-monthly basis, and the most recent data is for the twelve months to June 2017. In this period overall employment (age 16+) in London was 4.57 million, and 882,000 of this was self-employment, comprising 19.3 per cent of the total. Self-employment is therefore more prominent in London than in the UK, and accounted for for almost a third of London’s employment growth over the previous year (32%). Referring again to the twelve months to June 2017, self-employment in London is more prominent among men (23.6 per cent of men in employment are self employed) than women (14.0 per cent of women in employment are self employed).

The ONS last updated its workforce jobs estimates last month. The number of jobs located in London (i.e. whether or not they are taken by residents of London) reached 5.8 million in June 2017, a record high. Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of the annual net increase in jobs in London came from an increase in self-employment jobs (+43,000).

Labour market tables (employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, and workforce jobs)

*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.

 Note: we are no longer including a table with the claimant count figures due to issues with the data caused by the roll out of Universal Credit. There are differences in definition and administrative processes between Jobseekers’ Allowance and Universal Credit. The ONS no longer publishes the claimant count as an official statistic. We provided a briefing note on this issue in September 2017 which can be found at:

Employment rate and unemployment rate charts