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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

Labour market update for London – November 2017

Employment rate in London unchanged on quarter[1]

London’s employment rate (i.e. the proportion of London’s residents aged 16-64 population in employment) in the three months to September 2017 was 74.3 per cent. The rate was unchanged on the previous quarter, but up 0.8 percentage points on the year. This represents an additional 130,000 Londoners in employment (age 16 plus) compared to the previous year. The UK’s employment rate in the three months to September was 75.0 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter but up 0.6 percentage points on the year.

London’s ILO unemployment rate in the three months to September 2017 was 5.0 per cent. This is down 0.5 percentage points on the previous quarter and down 0.6 percentage points on the previous year. The UK’s unemployment rate also fell slightly, to 4.3 per cent (down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter, and down 0.6 percentage points on the year).

People’s activity in the labour market can take one of three states. They are employed, unemployed, or economically inactive (not working and not seeking work). Therefore, if the unemployment rate falls, and the employment rate is unchanged, this means the economic inactivity rate must increase. This was the case both in London and the UK compared to the previous quarter. In London the economic inactivity rate (for 16-64 year olds) in the three months to September 2017 was 21.7 per cent, up 0.5 percentage on the previous quarter, but down 0.3 percentage points on the previous year. In the UK the economic inactivity rate was slightly lower than London at 21.6 per cent, although it was also up on the quarter (by 0.3 percentage points) and down on the year (by 0.1 percentage points).

In general the economic inactivity rate has been falling gradually for the last decade, both in London and the UK. Comparing the most recent quarter in London to the same quarter a decade ago (July to September 2007) we can observe that on aggregate there has been a shift from inactivity to employment. For 16-64 year olds, the inactivity rate in London fell by 4 percentage points over the ten year period, while the employment rate increased by 5 percentage points, and the unemployment rate fell by 1 percentage point.

The last update to the workforce jobs figures (which estimate the number of jobs located in London regardless of who takes them) was in September and covered the second quarter of 2017.  This estimated that there were 5.8 million jobs located in London, a record high. This was an increase of 59,000 on the previous year, with the largest growth occurring in Professional Services (+33,000) and Administrative & Support Services (+28,000). There will be an update to workforce jobs figures next month, in December.

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 (the number of people claiming unemployment benefits). The roll out of Universal Credit has caused problems with this statistic because of differences in definition and administrative processes between Jobseekers’ Allowance and Universal Credit. The ONS no longer publishes the claimant count as an official statistic. In September 2017 we provided a briefing 

Employment rate and unemployment rate charts

[1] Although the employment rate is unchanged on the quarter, the monthly data, which is more volatile, shows a decrease in the employment rate of 0.6 percentage points. The charts at the bottom of this document show the monthly data.