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Unemployment rate

Unemployment rate over time (2004 Q4 - 2022 Q4)

Unemployment followed a steady decline until 2020, after peaking in the aftermath of the financial crisis. In Inner London, it halved from 10.3% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2019, dropping below its pre-crisis levels by 2014. While in Outer London, it declined from 9.1% in 2011 to 4.6% in 2019, and did not recover its pre-crisis levels until 2016.

Throughout this period, unemployment has remained consistently higher in London than in the Rest of England, where the rate stood at 3.8% in the 12 months to December 2019 compared to 4.6% for London overall.

2020 shows a clear change in the declining trend that defined the story of unemployment following the financial crisis. The notable surge in 2020 is likely a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to have been sharper in London. This can be seen particularly in Inner London, where the rate rose by 38%, or 1.7 percentage points, compared to the Rest of England, where it rose by 18% or 0.7 percentage points against 2019.

In 2022 unemployment has declined again to to pre-pandemic levels in Outer London and below pre-pandemic levels in Inner London and the Rest of England.

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