Official unemployment

Summary for the United Kingdom and the North West region

For the three month period from February 2018 to April 2018, the number of unemployed people totalled 1,416,000 in the United Kingdom and 145,000 persons in the North West region.

The North West unemployment rate of 4.1% was marginally lower than the UK rate of 4.2%.

The UK rate is the joint lowest since the spring of 1975. The North West rate is the joint second 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 April 2018 was estimated in London (5.2%). The lowest rates were estimated in Northern Ireland and the South West of England (both 3.3%).

The male unemployment rate in the North West (4.4%) was marginally greater than the rate for men in the UK (4.3%).

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 (4.4%) was 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 February 2018 to April 2018

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 1,416,000 4.2 -38,000 -2.6 -0.1 -115,000 -7.5 -0.4
North West 145,000 4.1 -2,000 -1.5 0.0 -5,000 -3.3 -0.1
Males
United Kingdom 767,000 4.3 10,000 1.3 0.0 -73,000 -8.7 -0.4
North West 83,000 4.4 2,000 2.9 0.1 0 0.3 0.1
Females
United Kingdom 649,000 4.1 -47,000 -6.8 -0.3 -41,000 -6.0 -0.3
North West 63,000 3.7 -5,000 -6.8 -0.2 -5,000 -7.7 -0.2

Note: Numbers may not sum owing to rounding.

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

Caution interpreting change in unemployment data

In general, changes in the unemployment numbers (and especially the unemployment rates) between 3 month periods are small, and are not usually greater than the level that is explainable by sampling variability. In practice, this means that small, short-term movements in reported rates (for example within +/- 0.3 percentage points) should be treated as indicative, and considered alongside medium and long-term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in administrative sources, where available, to give a fuller picture.

Quarterly change

The UK unemployment rate for all persons fell over the previous quarter, whilst the North West unemployment rate was unchanged (although the number unemployed decreased slightly in the region).

The fall in the total number of persons unemployed in the North West was a result of a fall in female unemployment, which was offset by a smaller rise in male unemployment. Please note that the all persons total may not sum owing to rounding. Similarly, at the UK level, the decrease in total unemployment was the result of a fall in female unemployment, which was offset by a lower increase male unemployment numbers.

Unemployment fell in the UK by 38,000 people over the previous quarter and decreased by 2,000 persons in the North West. The unemployment rate for the North West was unchanged, whilst the UK rate fell by 0.1 percentage point over the quarter.

The North West quarterly decrease of 2,000 unemployed persons was the result of female unemployment falling by 5,000 women (6.8%), and male unemployment rising, by 2,000 men (2.9%).

The unemployment rate for men in the region rose by 0.1 percentage point over the quarter to 4.4%. Contrary to this, the unemployment rate for women in the North West decreased by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter to 3.7%.

The UK quarterly decrease in the number of unemployment persons (38,000) was the result of female unemployment falling by 47,000 women (6.8%) and male unemployment increasing by 10,000 men (1.3%). Please note that the total may not sum owing to rounding.

At the UK level, the unemployment rate for all persons decreased by 0.1 percentage point over the previous quarter. The female rate fell by 0.3 percentage points, whilst the unemployment rate for men was unchanged.

Figure 1: Official unemployment rates for the North West and United Kingdom to the three months ending January 2018 – This graph is updated quarterly (not each month).

Source: Office for National Statistics - Labour Force Survey.

Yearly change

The North West unemployment rate for all persons fell marginally, by 0.1 percentage point, over the year. The UK unemployment rate for all persons saw a larger decrease of 0.4 percentage points over the year. The North West outturn was the result of female unemployment numbers falling, whilst the male unemployment total was the same as it was a year earlier, for the three months ending April 2017. The number of unemployed females in the region decreased by 5,000 women (7.7%) over the previous year, whilst the number of unemployed males was the same as it was a year earlier, for the three months ending April 2017.

In the North West, the unemployment rate for females decreased by 0.2 percentage points over the last year, whilst the male rate in the region increased marginally, by 0.1 percentage point. Please note that a rate can change because of an increase or decrease in the economically active denominator (even if the number unemployed does not change). The rate for all persons in the North West fell marginally over the year, by 0.1 percentage point.

At the UK level, the unemployment rate for males dropped by a marginally greater extent (-0.4 percentage points) than the UK rate for females (-0.3 percentage points) over the previous year. Overall, the UK unemployment rate for all persons fell by -0.4 percentage points.

Male unemployment in the region was the same for the three months ending April 2018 as it was for the three months ending April 2017. The percentage decrease for unemployed men in the UK as a whole was 8.7%.

Please note that the change in the number unemployed and the percentage change in the number unemployed reflect the change of the actual unrounded unemployment data (rather than the rounded figures published).

The number of unemployed women in the North West fell by 7.7%, over the year. This was slightly greater than percentage decrease for UK females of 6.0% over the year.

Further analysis

Official unemployment figures for the United Kingdom and North West region, February 2018 to April 2018 (PDF 681 KB)

Page updated 12 June 2018.

Unemployment