Unemployment rate

Unemployment rate over time (2004/05 - 2020/21 Q2)

After peaking in the aftermath of the financial crisis, unemployment followed a steady decline until 2019/20: in Inner London, it halved from 10.5% in 2010/11 to 4.5%, dropping below its pre-crisis levels by 2014/15; while in Outer London, it declined from 9.2% in 2011/12 to 4.7% in 2018/19, and it did not recover its pre-crisis levels until 2015/16. 

Throughout this period, unemployment has remained consistently higher in London than in England as a whole, where the rate stood at 4.9% in the 12 months to September 2021 compared to 6.5% for London overall.

2020/21 shows a clear change in the declining trend that defined the story of unemployment since the financial crisis. The notable surge in 2020/21 is likely a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to have been sharper in London, particularly in Inner London, where the rate has risen by 33%, or 1.6 percentage points, than in England where it rose by 14% or 0.6 percentage points when compared to 2019/20.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of the economically active population (adults who are not retired, studying, looking after the home, long-term sick etc.) who are either without a job, have been actively seeking work in the past four weeks and are available to start work in the next two weeks or are out of work but have found a job and are waiting to start in the next two weeks.