Labour market update for London – February 2020
Employment rate in London remains high
The ONS today released labour market data for the three months to December 2019. The latest figures show that London’s labour market remained resilient during this period, with the employment rate continuing at its highest level since the series began (in 1992). Adjusting for inflation, average regular pay is now 0.1% higher than its pre-recession peak (in 2008). However, earnings are still below their pre-crisis levels if bonuses are included and the rate of pay growth has moderated in recent months.
- In October to December 2019, London’s 16-64 employment rate was 75.5%. This was up by 0.9 percentage points on the previous quarter and by 0.7 percentage points up on the year. For the UK as a whole the employment rate rose by 0.6 percentage points on the previous year, reaching 76.5%.
- The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force) in the capital was3%, 0.3 percentage points down on the previous quarter and 0.2 percentage points down on the year. The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%, 0.1 percentage points down on the quarter and 0.2 percentage points down on the year.
- London’s 16-64 economic inactivity rate was estimated at 21.1%, 0.7 percentage points lower than the previous quarter and 0.5 percentage points down on the year. The UK inactivity rate was 20.5%, down 0.3 percentage points on the quarter and 0.4 percentage points on the year.
- The latest earnings data for Great Britain shows that annual growth in average weekly earnings for employees dropped to 2.9% for total pay (including bonuses) and 3.2% for regular pay. In real terms (adjusting for inflation), annual growth in total pay is estimated to be 1.4% and 1.8% for regular pay.
- For December 2019, average regular pay in real terms was £474 per week (in 2015 prices) and this was 0.1% higher than the pre-crisis downturn peak of £473 per week in March 2008.
Please see the charts and tables below for more detail on headline labour market data.
Note on interpreting labour market data: many of the statistics presented here 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 headline indicators for London, and the gap between London and the UK are often 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 2019 was 75.5%, up 0.9 percentage points on the quarter and up 0.7 percentage points on the year. The UK’s employment rate rose to 76.5%, up 0.4 percentage points on the quarter and 0.6 percentage points on the year.
In the three months to December 2019 London’s ILO unemployment rate was 4.3%, 0.3 percentage points down on the quarter and 0.2 percentage points on the previous year. The UK’s unemployment rate was 0.5 percentage points lower than London’s, at 3.8%, 0.1 percentage points down on the quarter and 0.2 percentage points down on the year.
In the three months to December 2019 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 21.1%, down 0.7 percentage points on the previous quarter and 0.5 percentage points down on the year. The UK’s rate of economic inactivity stood at 0.6 percentage points lower than London’s at 20.5%, down 0.3 percentage points on the previous quarter and 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 the 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 2019 Q3
Source: ONS workforce jobs
Jobs growth in London by sector, last 12 months (2018-19 Q3) and previous (2017-18 Q3)
Source: ONS workforce jobs