Official unemployment

Summary for the United Kingdom and the North West region

For the three month period from May 2018 to July 2018, the number of unemployed people totalled 1,361,000 in the United Kingdom and 164,000 persons in the North West region.

The North West unemployment rate of 4.5% was higher than the UK rate of 4.0%.

The UK rate is the joint lowest since early in 1975. Although the North West rate has increased over the last quarter, it is low by historical standards and at a level seen prior to the 2008/09 recession in the autumn of 2005 and more recently for the three months ending February 2017.

The highest regional unemployment rate in the UK for the three months ending July 2018 was estimated in London (4.7%). The lowest rate was estimated in South West of England (2.6%).

The male unemployment rate in the North West (4.7%) has risen over the last quarter was greater than the rate for men in the UK (4.0%).

The female unemployment rate in the region at 4.4% has also increased sharply over the last quarter and was now higher than the national rate for women of 4.0%.

The unemployment rate for men in the North West (4.7%) was higher than the rate for women in the region (4.4%).

Table 1: Official unemployment figures for the United Kingdom and North West region for the three months from May 2018 to July 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 1,361,000 4.0 -55,000 -3.9 -0.2 -95,000 -6.5 -0.3
North West 164,000 4.5 18,000 12.7 0.4 19,000 13.0 0.5
Males
United Kingdom 719,000 4.0 -47,000 -6.2 -0.3 -69,000 -8.7 -0.4
North West 90,000 4.7 7,000 8.3 0.2 7,000 9.0 0.3
Females
United Kingdom 641,000 4.0 -8,000 -1.2 0.0 -26,000 -3.9 -0.2
North West 74,000 4.4 12,000 18.4 0.6 11 18.3 0.7

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 unemployment rate for all persons fell in the UK over the previous quarter but increased sharply in the North West region.

The rise in the total number of persons unemployed in the North West was the result of a marked increase in female unemployment and a lower, but notable rise in male unemployment. Please note that the all persons total may not sum owing to rounding. At the UK level, the decrease in total unemployment was predominantly the result of male unemployment reducing, with the number of unemployed women falling by a lower amount.

Unemployment fell in the UK by 55,000 people (3.9%) over the previous quarter but rose by 12,000 persons (12.7%), or roughly an eighth, in the North West. The UK unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter. In contrast, the North West rate rose by a notable 0.4 percentage points.

The North West quarterly increase of 18,000 unemployed persons was the result of female unemployment rising by a notable 12,000 women (18.4%), not far off a fifth, and male unemployment increasing by 7,000 men (8.3%), or by a twelfth.

The unemployment rate for women in the North West increased sharply, by 0.6 percentage points, to 4.4% over the quarter. The unemployment rate for men in the region also rose, by 0.2 percentage points, to 4.7%.

The UK quarterly decrease in the number of unemployment persons (55,000) was the result of male unemployment falling by 47,000 men (6.2%) and female unemployment decreasing by 8,000 women (1.2%). Please note that the total may not sum owing to rounding.

At the UK level, the unemployment rate for all persons decreased by 0.2 percentage points over the previous quarter. The male rate dropped by 0.3 percentage points, whilst the female rate was unchanged.

Figure 1: Official unemployment rates for the North West and United Kingdom to the three months ending June 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 increased by 0.5 percentage point, over the year. Contrary to this, the UK unemployment rate for all persons decreased by 0.3 percentage points. The North West outturn was the result of female unemployment numbers rising by 11,000 women (18.3%) over the previous year, almost a fifth, and male unemployment numbers also increasing by 7,000 men (9.0%) on a year earlier.

In the North West, the unemployment rate for females increased markedly, by 0.7 percentage points, over the last year. The male rate in the region rose by 0.3 percentage points. The rate for all persons in the North West rose by 0.5 percentage points.

Note 1: Please note that a rate can change because of an increase or decrease in the economically active denominator (even if the number unemployed (the numerator) does not change).
 

At the UK level, and contrary to the North West increases, the unemployment rate for males dropped by -0.4 percentage points. This was greater than the fall in the UK rate for females of -0.2 percentage points over the previous year. Overall, the UK unemployment rate for all persons fell by -0.3 percentage points.

The number of unemployed women in the North West increased sharply over the year, mainly owing to the recent quarterly rise. The yearly percentage rise for women in the region was 18.3%, almost a fifth. This compared to the percentage decrease for UK females of -3.9% over the year.

Male unemployment in the region rose by 9.0% over the year, which was contrary to the percentage decrease of -8.7% recorded for unemployed men in the UK as a whole.

Note 2: Please note that the change in the number unemployed and the percentage change in the number unemployed in table 1 above reflect the change of the actual unrounded unemployment data (rather than the rounded figures published).  
 

Further analysis

Official unemployment figures for the United Kingdom and North West region, May 2018 to July 2018 (PDF 676 KB)

Page updated 11 September 2018.