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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

Labour market update for London – January 2019

London’s unemployment rate reaches record low

 The capital’s labour market remains buoyant with unemployment at record lows, according to the latest ONS labour market data. In the three months to November 2018:

  • There were 4.8 million Londoners in work, up by 12,000 on the previous quarter. At the same time, there were 227,000 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 (5.2%) and the lowest estimate since comparable estimates began 1992. The UK unemployment rate remains even lower – at 4.0%.
  • According to the latest data, real pay (adjusting for inflation) in Great Britain was up 1.1%, the highest rate since the three months to November 2016.
  • Please see the charts and tables on the following pages for more detail on these 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, 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 November 2018 was 74.9%, up 0.2 percentage points on the quarter, and up 0.6 percentage point on the year. The UK’s employment rate was 0.9 percentage points higher than London’s at 75.8%, up 0.2 percentage points on the quarter and 0.4 percentage points on the year.

In the three months to November 2018 London’s ILO unemployment rate was 4.5%, down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter and 0.6 percentage points on the year, reaching a record low. The UK unemployment rate remained lower than London’s at 4.0%, unchanged on the quarter and down 0.2 percentage points on the year.

In the three months to November 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 21.4%, unchanged on the quarter and down 0.1 percentage points on the year. The UK’s rate of economic inactivity was slightly lower than London’s at 21% and was down 0.3 percentage points on both the quarter and 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.  

Jobs charts

 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