Official unemployment

Summary for the United Kingdom and the North West region

For the three month period from August 2017 to October 2017, the number of unemployed people totalled 1,429,000 in the United Kingdom and 150,000 persons in the North West region.

The North West unemployment rate of 4.2% was marginally lower than the UK rate of 4.3%

The UK rate is the lowest since the spring of 1975, whilst the North West rate is the third lowest since the regional time series began in the spring of 1992.

The highest regional unemployment rate in the UK for the three months ending October 2017 was recorded in the North East of England (5.9%); the lowest rate was in the South East (3.0%).

The male unemployment rate in the North West (4.7%) was higher the rate for men in the UK (4.4%).

In contrast, the female unemployment rate in the region at 3.7% was lower than the national rate for women of 4.1%.

The unemployment rate for men in the North West (4.7%) is notably higher than the rate for women in the region (3.7%).

Table 1: Official unemployment figures for the United Kingdom and North West region for the three months from August 2017 to October 2017

Persons aged 16 and over, economically active, seasonally adjusted
  Unemployed

Unemployment - quarterly change

Unemployment - yearly change

Area number rate (%) in number percent in rate in number percent in rate
All Persons
United Kingdom 1,429,000 4.3 -26,000 -1.8 -0.1 -182,000 -11.3 -0.6
North West 150,000 4.2 5,000 3.3 0.2 -37,000 -19.7 -1.1
Males
United Kingdom 783,000 4.4 -5,000 -0.7 0.0 -103,000 -11.6 -0.6
North West 87,000 4.7 5,000 6.4 0.3 -23,000 -21.1 -1.3
Females
United Kingdom 647,000 4.1 -21,000 -3.1 -0.1 -80,000 -11.0 -0.5
North West 62,000 3.7 0 -0.7 0.0 -13,000 -17.8 -0.8

Source: Office for National Statistics – Statistical Bulletins - UK Labour Market (Summary, table 1) and Regional Labour Market Statistics (download data table H102).

Quarterly change

The North West unemployment rate for all persons increased over the previous quarter, whilst the rate for all persons at the UK level decreased marginally. The increase in the North West was wholly the result of a rise in male unemployment as female unemployment numbers remained unchanged. At the UK level, female unemployment fell by a greater extent than male unemployment.

Unemployment fell by 26,000 people in the UK but rose by 5,000 persons in the North West over the previous quarter. The unemployment rate for the UK decreased by 0.1 percentage point, whilst contrary to this, the regional rate increased by 0.2 percentage points.

The North West quarterly increase of 5,000 unemployed persons was wholly the result of male unemployment rising by 5,000 men (6.4%), whilst female unemployment remaining unchanged.

The unemployment rate for women in the region remained unchanged at 3.7%. It is the lowest unemployment rate for women in the North West since the regional time series began in the spring of 1992. The unemployment rate for men in the North West increased by 0.3 percentage points over the quarter to 4.7%.

The UK quarterly decrease in the number of unemployment persons (26,000) was the result of male unemployment falling by 5,000 men and female unemployment reducing by 21,000 women.

At the UK level, the unemployment rate for all persons dropped by 0.1 percentage point over the previous quarter. The female rate also decreased by 0.1 percentage point over the period, whilst the rate for men was unchanged.

Figure 1: Official unemployment rates for the North West and United Kingdom to the three months ending September 2017 – This graph is updated quarterly (not each month).

Source: Office for National Statistics -Labour Force Survey.

Yearly change

Overall, the North West unemployment rate for all persons fell by 1.1 percentage point over the year. This was greater than the decrease of 0.6 percentage points for the UK as a whole. The North West outturn was the result of male unemployment numbers falling by a greater extent than female unemployment. The number of unemployed males in the region reduced by 23,000 men (21.1%) over the previous year, whilst the number of unemployed females declined by 13,000 women (17.8%).

In the North West, the unemployment rate for males decreased by -1.3 percentage points over the last year, the regional female rate dropped by a lower -0.8 percentage points, and the rate for all persons in the North West fell by -1.1 percentage points.

Contrary to the North West, the UK unemployment rate for males dropped by a marginally lower extent (-0.6 percentage points) than the UK rate for females (-0.8 percentage points) over the previous year. Overall, the UK unemployment rate for all persons fell by -0.6 percentage points.

Male unemployment in the region fell by 21.1% over the year, which was greater than the percentage decrease of 11.6% recorded for unemployed men in the UK as a whole.

The number of unemployed women in the North West fell by 17.8%, which was larger than the percentage decrease for UK females over the year (11.0%).

Further analysis

Official unemployment figures for the United Kingdom and North West region, August 2017 to October 2017 (PDF 1,092 KB)

Page updated 13 December 2017.

Unemployment