You are here:

House of Commons Library

Labour market statistics: UK regions and countries

Published Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This paper gives an overview of labour market statistics across the UK’s regions and countries. The spreadsheet published alongside this paper includes a ‘profile tool’ where you can select a region and see all data for that region presented in tables and charts.

Jump to full report >>


Between October 2016 and September 2017 the employment rate was highest in the South East (78.4%) and lowest in Northern Ireland (69.2%).

Recently employment rates across all regions and countries have been increasing. Employment rates have recovered to their pre-recession levels in all regions and countries with the exception of Scotland, where the employment rate remains 0.4 percentage points lower than in 2007/08.


People who are out of work and actively seeking work are classed as unemployed. This is different to being ‘economically inactive’, where someone is out of work but not looking for a job.

Between October 2016 and September 2017 the unemployment rate was highest in the North East (6.5%) and lowest in the South East (3.4%).

As with employment rates most UK regions and countries have seen their unemployment rate recover to pre-recession levels. However, the unemployment rate in Northern Ireland is 1.0 percentage points higher in 2016/17 than it was in 2007/08.

Part-time employment

Between October 2016 and September 2017 part-time working was most prevalent in the South West where 30.8% of those in employment were working part-time. Part-time working was least prevalent in London where 22.7% of those in employment were working part-time.


Self-employment was most prevalent in London where 18.8% of those in employment were self-employed. Self-employment was least prevalent in the North East where 11.3% of workers were self-employed.

Average weekly earnings

The latest statistics from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings show that in April 2017 average weekly earnings were highest for full-time employees living in London (£655) and lowest in Yorkshire and the Humber, Northern Ireland and the North East (all just over £500).

Average weekly earnings for full-time employees are, after adjusting for changes in prices, below their pre-recession levels in every region and country in the UK.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7950

Author: Andy Powell

Topics: Economic situation, Employment, Incomes and poverty, Unemployment

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.