Employment and disability


For 2015, it was estimated that in the Lancashire-14 area, 661,000 or 72.6% of people aged 16-64 were in employment; which was below the national average of 73.6%.

The chances of being in employment change dramatically if a person is disabled. In Lancashire-14, the employment rate for the 'core disabled' population aged 16-64 was just 43.6% in 2015.


The annual population survey (APS) is a survey of households in Great Britain with the purpose to provide regular information on key social and socio-economic variables.

For the year to December 2015, there were 246,383 people surveyed in Great Britain, with 4,746 of those interviews taking place in the Lancashire-14 area. Within Lancashire-14, many of the interviews (2,592) took place in the two unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. This left just 2,154 interviews in the Lancashire-12 area.

This report uses figures from the APS that consider employment, inactivity and disability rates. The full range of available data sets from the annual population survey for all areas of the country can be downloaded from the nomisweb site. 

Results for Lancashire

Table 1 reveals that it was estimated that 661,000 or 72.6% of people aged 16-64 in Lancashire-14 were in employment in 2015. In comparison, the Great Britain percentage was 73.6%. Of the total estimated population aged 16-64, 63.8% in Lancashire-14 were employees, 9.5% were self-employed, and 3.6% were classified as unemployed. A total of 173,500, or 23.7% of the Lancashire-14 population of working age were classified as economically inactive. This was higher than the national average of 22.2%.

Table 1 Employment status of persons aged 16-64, 2015

  Lancashire-12 Lancashire-14 Great Britain
Number Percent of population Number Percent of population
Employment rate 539,300 73.6% 661,000 72.6% 73.6%
Employees 487,400 63.8% 572,600 62.9% 63.1%
Self-employed 69,700 9.5% 85,600 9.4% 10.2%
Unemployed 19,900 3.6% 29,400 4.3% 5.4%
Economically inactive 173,500 23.7% 220,700 24.2% 22.2%

Source Annual Population Survey 

Table 2 has the 2015 employment rates for the Lancashire-12 and 14 areas, plus the national figures for disabled people. The equality act generally defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental health condition or impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Not surprisingly, the employment rates for disabled workers are far lower than non-disabled workers. At the national level, it is estimated that 50.1% of core disabled males of working age are in employment whilst 46.0% of core disabled females are in work. The Lancashire-14 figures, which are based on a much smaller sample size, suggest that only 42.8% of core disabled males are in work and 44.2% of core disabled females.

Table 2 Employment rates for core disabled (equalities act) 16-64, for 2015

  Lancashire-12 Lancashire-14 Great Britain
Number Percent of population Number Percent of population
Employment rate-all persons 63,100 45.1% 78,000 43.6% 47.8%
Employment rate-males 28,500 44.7% 34,700 42.8% 50.1%
Employment rate-females 34,600 45.4% 43,200 44.2% 46.0%

Source Annual Population Survey

Disability definition

The classification designed to measure the core population of currently disabled people for the equality act is people that answer yes the following two questions:

  • do you have any physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more?
  • does your condition or illness\do any of your conditions or illnesses reduce your ability to carry-out day-to-day activities?

Page updated April 2016