Lancashire-12 and 14 areas

Official unemployment statistics for the Lancashire County Council 12-authority area, the broader Lancashire 14-authority sub-region and the Lancashire West and East Lancashire parts of the sub-region   

January 2015 to December 2015

 

Unemployment and labour market summary

Unemployment has fallen substantially in the UK and the Lancashire sub-regions since the peaks following the 2008/09 recession and 16+ unemployment rates are back to pre-recession levels. For the Lancashire sub-regions, however, as unemployment has decreased, economic inactivity for persons aged 16+ has increased at a far greater pace than the rise in 16+ employment, which is contrary to the UK.

Unemployment and yearly change

Official unemployment in the UK for the year from January 2015 to December 2015 totalled 1,723,800 persons with an unemployment rate of 5.3% (+/- 0.1%). The rates for the Lancashire-14 area at 4.2% (+/- 0.8%), the Lancashire-12 area at 3.5% (+/- 1.0%) and the Lancashire West sub-region at 3.7% (+/- 0.9%) are lower than the UK unemployment rate in statistical terms.

The rates were 5.1% (+/- 1.2%) within East Lancashire and 5.3% (+/- 0.3%) for the North West region. Owing to the overlapping confidence intervals, these two rates cannot be said to be higher or lower than the UK rate of 5.3% (+/- 0.1%).

Figure U1: Official unemployment rates with confidence intervals for the year January 2015 to December 2015

Source: Office for National Statistics, Annual Population Survey via the National On-line Manpower Information System (N.O.M.I.S.).

Unemployment at the UK level has fallen by -303,100 persons (-15.0%) over the year, falling from 2,026,900 to 1,723,800 people. The UK rate fell by -0.9 percentage points, from 6.2% (+/- 0.1%) to 5.3% (+/- 0.1%) over the year and is back to pre-recession levels, which ranged between 5.1% and 5.3% in 2007.  

Unemployment rates have fallen by a greater extent in the Lancashire sub-regions than at the UK level over the previous year. Rates have dropped by -4.1 percentage points within East Lancashire and by -1.1 percentage points in the Lancashire West sub-region. Overall therefore the Lancashire-14 rate declined by -2.1 percentage points. The fall was greater in the Lancashire-12 area at -2.6 percentage points.

Employment has also picked up over the previous year within Lancashire, particularly with East Lancashire, although the 16+ employment rates for the Lancashire-14 area and the Lancashire West sub-region remain lower than the UK rate in statistical terms.

Figure U2: Official unemployment rates from the year ending December 2004 to the year ending December 2015

Source: Office for National Statistics, Annual Population Survey via the National On-line Manpower Information System (N.O.M.I.S.).

Change in unemployment, employment and economic inactivity since recent peaks/lows

Since the recent peak in UK unemployment, for the year ending June 2012 of 2,576,700 people (8.1%, +/-0.1%), the total has fallen by -852,900 people (-33.1%), or a third, and the unemployment rate has reduced by -2.8 percentage points to 5.3% (+/- 0.1%) as at the year ending December 2015.

Unemployment numbers have fallen by greater percentages in the Lancashire sub-regions since their respective peaks, than at the UK level. Since the year ending December 2012, the number unemployed is lower by -28,300 (-48.6%) within the Lancashire-14 area and by -25,600 persons (-55.7%) in the Lancashire-12 area. For the Lancashire West sub-region, unemployment has reduced by -20,000 persons (-54.3%) since the year ending March 2012 and within East Lancashire unemployment is lower by -12,300 (-48.4%) since the year ending September 2014.

Unemployment rates have decreased by -3.9 percentage points in the Lancashire-14 area and by -4.4 percentage points in the Lancashire-12 area since the year ending December 2012. Since the year ending March 2012, the Lancashire West unemployment rate has dropped by -4.1 percentage points, however, the Lancashire West unemployment rate peaked slightly later than the unemployment numbers, at 8.0% (+/- 1.3%) for the year ending December 2012 and has fallen by a slightly greater -4.3 percentage points since this later date. The unemployment rate for East Lancashire has fallen by -5.5 percentage points since the year ending September 2014.

For the year ending December 2015, the unemployment rates for the Lancashire-12 area at 3.5% (+/- 1.0%), the Lancashire West sub-region at 3.7% (+/- 0.9%) and the Lancashire-14 area at 4.2% (+/- 0.8%) are lower than the UK rate in statistical terms.

Change in 16+ employment

Since the post-recession low-point, for the year ending March 2010, UK 16+ employment has increased almost consistently, rising by +2,178,600 people (+7.5%) and the 16+ UK employment rate has gone up by +1.8 percentage points to 59.8% (+/- 0.2%) for the year ending December 2015, when employment totalled 31,071,000 persons. This is a peak number for this dataset, but not a peak rate – a UK 16+ employment rate of 60.0% (+/- 0.2%) was recorded on two occasions in 2008.

The 16+ employment rates for the Lancashire-14 area of 57.4% (+/- 1.4%) and the Lancashire West sub-region of 57.0% (+/- 1.9%) for the year ending December 2015 are statistically lower than the UK 16+ employment rate of 59.8% (+/- 0.2%).

Owing to the wide and overlapping confidence intervals, the estimated 16+ employment rates for the Lancashire-12 area of 58.3% (+/- 2.1%), and the East Lancashire estimate of 58.1% (+/- 2.1%) are not statistically lower the UK 16+ employment rate.

In contrast to the UK, the number of employed persons aged 16+ has not grown as fast within the Lancashire-14 area and numbers remain below previous peaks, estimated for the year ending March 2011, by -3,900 persons (-0.7%) in the Lancashire-12 area and by -8,300 persons (-1.3%) in the Lancashire West sub-region.

For the Lancashire-14 area, despite growing less rapidly than the UK, 16+ employment, estimated at 680,100 persons for the year ending December 2015, is above the previous peak, for the year ending March 2011, for the first time, by +2,700 people (+0.4%). Similarly, the 16+ employment number, estimated at 243,600 for East Lancashire, for the year ending December 2015, is greater than the previous peak for the year ending March 2013, for the first time, by +2,100 persons (+0.9%).

This UK 16+ employment figure of 31,071,000 persons for the year ending December 2015 is +1,568,700 (+5.3%) greater than the previous peak of 29,502,300, estimated for the year ending September 2008, just as the 2008/09 recession was taking hold.

Change in 16+ economic inactivity

The economic inactivity rate for persons aged 16+ at the UK level has declined by -0.6 percentage points from the peak of 37.5% (+/- 0.2%) estimated for the year ending September 2011, following the recession, to 36.9% (+/- 0.2) for the year ending December 2015. This rate is only slightly above the low for the series, of 36.7% (+/- 0.2%) estimated for the year ending September 2008, just as the recession was taking hold, and for the year ending June 2007, prior to the recession.

The number of economically inactive persons aged 16+ in the UK has risen slightly, by +1.2% (+231,800 persons) between the year ending September 2011 and the year ending December 2015 to 19,172,100 persons. This is a peak number, but not a peak rate.

The 16+ economically inactive rate for the UK has fallen by -0.6 percentage points, owing to the denominator (the 16+ population figure) increasing by a greater +2.8% (+1,431,700 persons) over the period.

The 16+ economic inactivity rates for the Lancashire-12 area, of 39.5% (+/- 2.1%), the Lancashire-14 area, of 40.1% (+/- 1.4%), and the Lancashire West sub-region, of 40.8% (+/- 1.9%), were statistically higher than the UK estimated 16+ economic inactivity rate of 36.9% (+/- 0.2%) for the year ending December 2015.

The Lancashire West estimated 16+ economic inactivity rate is amongst the highest in the series (since the year ending December 2004). The rates for both the Lancashire-12 area and the Lancashire-14 area are also towards the high end of their respective ranges within the series.

Owing to the wide and overlapping confidence intervals, the estimated 16+ economic inactivity rate for East Lancashire at 38.8% (+/- 2.1%) is not statistically higher than the UK rate of 36.9% (+/- 0.2%). The East Lancashire rate has improved dramatically over the last two years.

By contrast to the UK, the number of 16+ economically inactive persons reached low points in the Lancashire sub-regions at the end of 2011 and in mid-2012 and inactive numbers have increased by much greater percentages in the Lancashire sub-regions since these dates.

The number of economically inactive persons aged 16+ has risen by +12.0% (+33,500 people) in the Lancashire West sub-region, estimated since the low point for the year ending December 2011. Numbers have increased by +10.3% (+35,000 people) in the Lancashire-12 area, by +8.8% (+38,400 persons) in the Lancashire-14 area and by +9.0% (+13,400 persons) within East Lancashire, since the year ending June 2012. For comparison, the number of 16+ economically inactive persons has increased by just 1.2% at the UK level since the year ending September 2011 and the 16+ employment number has risen by 6.8%.

Change in the UK population aged 16 and over since the year ending June 2012

The 16+ population in the UK is estimated to have increased by +1,160,900 persons (+2.3%) between the year ending June 2012 and December 2015. The percentage increases are lower than the UK in the Lancashire-14 area (+1.5%, +17,800 persons), the Lancashire-12 area (+1.1%, +10,700 people) and the Lancashire West sub-region (+1.0%, +7,800 persons), but greater within East Lancashire (+2.4%, +9,900 persons). These 16+ population changes will impact upon the 16+ employment rates and the 16+ economically active and inactive rates.

Further analysis

Labour market overview graphs for each of Lancashire sub-regions which relate to this report are also available to download in PDF format via the relevant link below. These place the unemployment figures into the wider labour market context. The graphs depict the associated labour market numbers since December 2004 for unemployment, employment, economic activity and economic inactivity. The 16+ population figures, as well as the relevant unemployment rate for each sub-region are also provided. 

The full unemployment report, including data tables, background information and notes concerning the analysis and interpretation of the dataset is also available to download below.   

Page updated July 2016.

Unemployment