Regional employment rate gap

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The UK’s employment performance has been very strong in recent years, but this headline performance masks differing experiences in the different regions and nations of the UK. Here we explore those experiences in detail.

The chart below shows employment levels and growth rates for each region and nation, compared to the overall proportion of 16-64 year olds in work in the UK as a whole. We focus on the employment rate, rather than the number of people in work, in order to capture employment growth beyond that which is just down to an expanding population.

Employment rate growth – the change in the employment rate in the UK and each of its regions and nations over the past year – is shown on the vertical axis, with the UK in the centre on the main horizontal line. Any region or nation above the main horizontal line has therefore seen faster employment growth than the UK as a whole over the past year. Any region or nation below the main horizontal line has seen slower than average employment growth (and in some cases a fall in the employment rate) over the past year.

Current employment rates are shown on the horizontal axis, with the UK’s current employment level in the centre, so regions and nations on the right-hand side have employment rates above the national average, and vice versa.

The colour-coding in this chart summarises each region or nation’s performance relative to the UK as a whole, as follows:

  • The green quadrant contains regions that have experienced both stronger than average employment growth over the past year and have employment rates that are above the national average.
  • The red quadrant contains regions and nations that are suffering the double whammy of employment rates below the national average and relatively sluggish employment growth over the past year.
  • The amber quadrants contain regions and nations that are either growing relatively quickly but have below-average employment rates, or that have above-average employment rates but have grown relatively slowly over the past year.

The map below displays these same patterns geographically. Clicking on the map will also reveal a detailed breakdown of the employment performance of each nation and region since 2008 – comparing each area’s employment performance with the UK average and showing the extent to which its current employment rate is above, or below, its pre-crisis position.