Labour market update for London – February 2019
London’s unemployment rate still at record low
Labour market data released by the ONS shows that in the three months to December 2018 London’s labour market remained buoyant, with unemployment staying at a record low rate.
- There were 4.7 million Londoners in work, up by 84,000 on the previous year. At the same time, there were 218,000 unemployed residents and 1.3 million economically inactive working age residents.
- London’s unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force) was estimated at 4.5%, lower than for a year earlier (5.0%) and still the lowest estimate since comparable records began in 1992. This has been driven in part by falling unemployment among women in the 16-34 age group, with the unemployment rate nearly halving on the previous year for women aged 25-34 (from 4.4% to 2.3%). The UK unemployment rate has remained lower than London’s at 4.0%.
- In the three months to December 2018 2.5% of people in London had a zero-hours contract in their main job. This proportion is similar to the UK (2.6%) and has been relatively stable over the last two years.
- Figures on the nationality of people in work show that in the three months to December 2018 the number of EU nationals working in the UK fell by 61,000 (2.6%) on the previous year to 2.27 million. During this time the number of non-EU nationals working in the UK has increased by 130,000 (11.2%) to 1.29 million. Please note that these are employment estimates and do not constitute migration flows.
- The ONS have also released data on employment by gender and parental status. In London the employment rate is nearly identical for women with and without dependent children (68.3% and 68.2% respectively in 2018), though it is lower than for men in both cases (93.0% and 74.0%). London’s female employment rate is also slightly below the UK as a whole for women without dependent children (69.4%), and further below the UK average for women with dependent children (74.1%). By comparison, the employment rate is similar for men in London and the rest of the country regardless of parental status.
- Please see the charts and tables on the following pages for more detail on this data.
Note on interpreting labour market data: many of the statistics presented here (for example, the employment rate and unemployment rate) are estimates based on a survey, and as such have a margin of error- known as sampling variability. For example a sampling variability of 0.1 and an estimated value of 2% would mean that if the survey was carried out 100 times, then in 95 of these the value would be between 1.9% and 2.1%. Changes in the monthly headline indicators for London, and the gap between London and the UK as a whole, are typically within the survey’s margin of error, meaning they are not statistically significant and may not reflect real changes / differences.
Headline labour market data – employment rate, unemployment rate, and economic inactivity rate
Note: charts show seasonally adjusted data.
London’s employment rate (i.e. the proportion of London’s residents aged 16-64 population in employment) in the three months to December 2018 was 74.8%, down 0.4 percentage points on the quarter, and up 0.5 percentage point on the year. The UK’s employment rate was 1 percentage point higher than London’s at 75.8%, up 0.3 percentage points on the quarter and 0.7 percentage points on the year.
In the three months to December 2018 London’s ILO unemployment rate was 4.5%, down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter and 0.6 percentage points on the year, maintaining a record low. The UK unemployment rate remained lower than London’s at 4.0%, down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter and down 0.3 percentage points on the year.
In the three months to December 2018 the rate of economic inactivity in London (the proportion of 16 to 64 year olds not in work and not looking for or not able to work) was 21.6%, up 0.5 percentage points on the quarter and unchanged on the year. The UK’s rate of economic inactivity was lower than London’s at 20.9%, and was down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter down 0.4 percentage points on the year.
Headline labour market data for London and the UK
*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+. We are no longer including a table with the claimant count (the number of people claiming unemployment benefits). The roll out of Universal Credit has caused problems with this statistic. In September 2017 we provided a briefing.
Year-on-year jobs growth (%), London and the UK, 1997 to 2018 Q3
Source: ONS workforce jobs
Jobs growth in London by sector, past 12 months (2017-18 Q3) and previous (2016-17 Q3)
Source: ONS workforce jobs