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The table below shows the latest key labour market statistics for each of the UK’s regions and countries:


Between January and December 2020 the employment rate was highest in the South East (78.3%) and lowest in Northern Ireland (70.6%).

Most of the regions and countries of the UK had a fall in employment levels between 2019 and 2020.

All areas saw their employment rates fall in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008/09, but since 2011/12, the employment rates for the UK and all its regions and countries have increased and in all areas except Scotland have now surpassed their pre-recession levels. To date, the impact of the 2020 pandemic has been much smaller.


The unemployment rate was highest in the North East (6.4%) and lowest in Northern Ireland (2.8%).

Every UK region and country saw a rise in unemployment between 2019 and 2020, with the exception of Wales.

Between 2011 and 2019 the unemployment rate had been falling. The unemployment rate is now less than pre-recession levels in all regions and countries except the North East.

Part-time employment

Part-time working was most prevalent in the South West where 29.1% of those in employment were working part-time. Part-time working was least prevalent in London where 20.7% of those in employment were working part-time.

Part-time employment levels have been rising in the UK since the 1950s, although the proportion of people in employment who are working part-time has been gradually falling since 2012. The number of part-time workers also fell as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.


Self-employment was most prevalent in London where 16.2% of those in employment were self-employed. Self-employment was least prevalent in the North East where 11.3% of workers were self-employed.

There has been a steady increase in the proportion of workers who are self-employed since the 1990s. However, there was a large drop in the number of self-employed workers in 2020.

Average weekly earnings

The latest statistics from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings show that in April 2020 average weekly earnings were highest for full-time employees living in London (£716) and lowest in the North East (£524).

Average weekly earnings for full-time employees are, after adjusting for changes in prices, below their pre-recession levels in every region and country in the UK except Scotland.


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