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Labour market statistics: UK regions and countries

Published Thursday, May 3, 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.

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In 2017 the employment rate was highest in the South East (78.8%) and lowest in Northern Ireland (69.0%).

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.


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.

In 2017 the unemployment rate was highest in the North East (6.2%) and lowest in the South East (3.2%).

As with employment rates, all UK regions and countries have seen their unemployment rate recover to, or near to, pre-recession levels.

Part-time employment

In 2017 part-time working was most prevalent in the South West where 30.9% of those in employment were working part-time. Part-time working was least prevalent in London where 21.9% of those in employment were working part-time.


Self-employment was most prevalent in London where 19.1% of those in employment were self-employed. Self-employment was least prevalent in the North East where 11.7% 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

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