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Unemployment in the United Kingdom - Statistics & Facts

The unemployment rate in the United Kingdom was 3.9 percent in January 2022, one of the lowest rates of unemployment recorded since 1974. Overall, this meant that there were approximately 1.34 million people that were unemployed as of this month, almost half the number that were out of work in 2011, following the global financial crisis. Although there was a temporary uptick in unemployment in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the unemployment rate peak at 5.1 percent in late 2020, this was lower than was initially feared when the pandemic started. Between April 2020 and October 2021 the job retention scheme, had approximately 11.7 million jobs on furlough, and was likely one of the main reasons unemployment was not much higher during this time. Unemployment is also expected to remain low for the near future, with a forecasted annual unemployment rate of four percent for 2022, and 4.2 percent for 2023.

Demographics of the unemployed

Age is an important factor in the unemployment rate. Among those that were aged between 16 and 24, the unemployment rate in January 2022 was 11.1 percent, while for older age groups, the unemployment rate was below the national average. When youth unemployment is broken down further, those aged 16 to 17 had an even higher unemployment rate than those aged 18 to 24, at 22.1 percent, compared with 9.7 percent. The high rate of unemployment seen among young people can be attributed to the fact that many will have just left compulsory education and be entering the workforce for the very first time. Young people will also lack the work experience that older age groups have, and therefore find it harder to get a job.

When looking at the gender of those that are unemployed, men had a higher unemployment rate in January 2022 than that of women, at 4.1 percent, compared with 3.7 percent. In this month there were 733,00 men and 603,000 women unemployed compared with approximately 950,000 men and 788,000 a year earlier in January 2021.

Regional disparities and length of time unemployed

As of January 2022, most people who were unemployed, had only been out of work for six months or less, with just 406,000 unemployed for more than a year. This is a significant decrease when compared with May 2013 when 919,000 people were long-term unemployed. Unemployment is also not something which is experienced the same across the UK, with the regional unemployment rate of the United Kingdom varying from 5.5 percent in the North East of England to just 2.7 percent in Northern Ireland. In London, the UK capital, the unemployment rate was just above the national average at five percent, with London's unemployment rate also reaching quite high levels a year previously, at 7.4 percent.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Unemployment in the UK".


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