Work & Worklessness

Key findings


Londoners were unemployed in 2016 - the lowest level since the start of the recession in 2008/09.


of 16-24 year olds were unemployed in 2016 compared to 3.6% of 25-64 year olds.

1 in 10

of employees in London are at risk of insecure employment. Younger and BME Londoners are more at risk.


The indicators in this topic look at the problems associated with not being in paid work, underemployment and insecure work. 

Poverty and the amount of paid work carried out by adults in a household are closely related. As the figures on in-work poverty show, having an adult in employment is not a guarantee of having a good income. However, poverty is much more likely without employment or when working relatively few hours. 

270,000 people were unemployed in London in 2016, which is the lowest level since the start of the recession in 2008/09. This is also the first year in which unemployment has been split evenly between men and women. Previously, the unemployment rate had been higher for men, partly because men who were not in work were more likely to be seeking work, and hence included in the figures. The unemployment ratio has decreased to 4.9% in London, which remains higher than the 3.8% unemployment ratio in the rest of England. The unemployment ratio looks at unemployment as a proportion of the working age population, as opposed to the economically active population. A quarter of the working age population in London were workless in 2016. 5 out of 6 of them were economically inactive (meaning that they were not looking for work).

The number of Londoners claiming an out of work benefit has been falling year on year, and is down to 470,000 in 2016. This has been falling faster in London than the rest of England. Only 41% of unemployed people in England were claiming Job Seeker's Allowance or Employment & Support Allowance in 2016, suggesting that the gap between benefit need and benefit receipt is widening. Only 8% of London households do not contain working adults, down from 15% in 2005.

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