In the fourth quarter of 2023 the unemployment rate for men in the United Kingdom was 4.1 percent, while for women it was 3.5 percent. The male unemployment rates seen in late 2020 were the highest since 2015, while the rates for women reached heights last seen in 2016. During the provided time period, the unemployment rate for men peaked in Q1 1993 at 12.7 percent, while for women the unemployment rate was highest in Q2 1984 when it was 11.8 percent.
Unemployment still low despite an uptick in 2023
The overall unemployment rate for the UK was 3.8 percent in December 2023, which was one of the lowest unemployment rates on record, and only slightly higher than the post-pandemic low of 3.6 percent in August 2022. There are some indications that unemployment may begin to rise again in 2024, however. After peaking at 1.3 million in May 2023, the number of job vacancies in the UK has started to fall, and fell to its lowest level since June 2021 in January 2024, at 932,000. When viewed over a long time-period, however, the number of vacancies is still at quite high levels.
Youth unemployment in the UK
The unemployment rate for people in the United Kingdom is heavily associated with age. For people aged between 16 and 24 years, for example, the unemployment rate was 11.6 percent in the three months to December 2023, compared with just 1.3 percent for over 65s. Additionally, youth unemployment for those aged 16 to 17 was much higher than youth unemployment for those aged 18 to 24, at 20.9 percent, and 11.6 percent respectively. As with the overall unemployment rate, young men had a higher unemployment rate at 14.2 percent, compared with 8.7 percent for young women in the fourth quarter of 2023.