Labour market update for London – June 2019
Labour markets remain tight in London and the UK
The ONS today released labour market data for the three months to April 2019. London’s labour market was stable over this period, with employment and unemployment largely unchanged on the previous quarter. The UK maintained its record high employment rate and unemployment stayed at its lowest level since 1974. Meanwhile, a tight labour market fed into continued wage growth.
- In the three months to April 2019 there were 4.7 million Londoners in work. This was up by 32,000 on the previous year. At the same time, there were 209,000 unemployed residents and just over 1.3 million economically inactive working age residents.
- London’s 16-64 employment rate was 74.9%, down 0.5 percentage points on the quarter but up 0.2 percentage points on the year. For the UK employment remained at its record high of 76.1%.
- London’s unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force) stood at 4.3%, a fall from 5.2% in the previous year. The UK unemployment rate was 3.8%, the lowest rate recorded since the three months to December 1974.
- UK data shows that average weekly earnings for employees (excluding bonuses) increased by 3.4% on the previous year. After adjusting for inflation this is an increase of 1.5%.
- Provisional data on workforce jobs shows that in the first quarter of 2019 there were 6.1 million jobs in London. This marks an increase 123,000 or 2.1% on the previous year; this was above the growth rate for the UK of over the same period (1.7%) and the average rate in London over the past two decades (1.8%).
- In terms of sectors, professional, scientific & technical activities saw the highest annual growth in jobs (+45,000), followed by information & communication (+32,000) and arts, entertainment & recreation (+19,000). However, wholesale & retail saw workforce jobs fall on the previous year (-38,000), along with administrative & support services (-13,000) and other service activities (-2,000).
- The professional, scientific & technical sector displayed a swing from a large decline in jobs in the year to 2018 Q1 to a large increase in the year to 2019 Q1. Over recent years jobs in this sector have generally followed an upward trend, with a slight downturn between 2016 Q3 and 2018 Q1. Wholesale & retail also showed a large swing in the other direction, however this series has generally been volatile in recent years.
- Please see the charts and tables on the following pages for more detail on headline labour market 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 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 April 2019 was 74.9%, down 0.5 percentage points on the quarter and up 0.2 percentage points on the year. The UK’s employment rate was 1.2 percentage points higher than London’s at 76.1%, unchanged on the quarter and up 0.5 percentage points on the year.
In the three months to April 2019 London’s ILO unemployment rate was 4.3%, up 0.1 percentage points on the quarter and down 0.9 percentage points on the year. The UK unemployment rate stood at 3.8%, down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter and 0.4 percentage points on the year.
In the three months to April 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 21.8%, up 0.5 percentage points on the quarter and up 0.6 percentage points on the year. The UK’s rate of economic inactivity stood at 20.8%, up 0.1 percentage points on the quarter and down 0.3 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 Q1
Source: ONS workforce jobs
Jobs growth in London by sector, last 12 months (2018-19 Q1) and previous (2017-18 Q1)
Source: ONS workforce jobs