A selection of graphs and statistics on unemployment. Also links to further reading on causes and solutions to unemployment.
Current UK Unemployment rate
- 7.8 % of the economically active population, 0.5 % points less than a year earlier.
- There were 2.52 million unemployed people 128,000 lower than a year ago. (page updated March 19, 2013)
Recent Unemployment Trends
UK Unemployment Since 1980
- See: Monthly Labour Market Statistics (Past Editions) Unemployment A02
UK Employment Rate
- 71.5 %. There were 29.73 million people in employment aged 16 and over.
- 22.3% per cent inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64. 8.95 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64
- 1.57 million
The claimant count is the number receiving unemployment benefits. The labour force survey involves asking people if they are currently out of a job and actively seeking work. Some people unemployed may not be eligible for job seekers allowance.
Unemployment rose to a post 1945 peak in 1982 due to the recession of 1981. The unemployment was concentrated in former industrial areas, which suffered from falling output during early 1980s. Unemployment did not fall below 3 million until the mid 1980s, when the economy started to boom. Another recession in 1991, caused another rise in unemployment.
Causes of UK unemployment
- Recession – causing cyclical, demand deficient unemployment. With falling real GDP, firms are producing less and therefore, there is less demand for workers. Also in a recession, some firms go out of business causing people to lose their jobs.
- Structural factors. There is structural unemployment due to the fast changing nature of the economy. For example, manufacturing jobs have been lost due to the economy becoming more service sector based. Some unemployed workers have found it difficult to get jobs in new high tech industries because they lack the relevant skills.
- Geographical unemployment. Unemployment is higher in certain regions and particular areas (e.g. north). There are geographical immobilities making it difficult for the unemployed to move to the south, where more jobs are available.
- Frictional unemployment. There is always some unemployment due to frictional factors, e.g. it takes time for the unemployed to find a new job.
- Youth Unemployment is highest amongst young workers – often because they lack skills or the right motivation.
- see also: Causes of unemployment
Youth Unemployment in the UK
Youth unemployment 1992-2012
See more on youth unemployment
Trade off Between Unemployment and Inflation
The Phillips Curve suggests there is a trade off between unemployment and inflation. Higher economic growth helps reduce unemployment, but inflation is likely to increase. By contrast, a reduction in demand would cause job losses and unemployment to increase, but reduce inflationary pressure. However, in the real world many other variables can lead to a breakdown in this trade off between the two.
% annual change in inflation and unemployment.
Unemployment and Inflation in US
The number of people who would like to work more hours, rose to over 1 million in 2012