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Unemployment rate

Unemployment rate over time (2005 Q3 - 2023 Q3)

The picture now

Outer London’s unemployment rate is 5.2%, slightly above the rate in Inner London of 4.4%. Both Inner and Outer London have higher unemployment rates* than the rest of England (3.5%).

How this has changed over time

From 2012 until 2019, unemployment followed a steady decline after peaking in the aftermath of the financial crisis. In Inner London, the unemployment rate more than halved from 2011 to 2019, from 10.5% to 4.5%. It recovered to pre-financial crisis levels in 2014. In Outer London, it declined from 9.2% in 2012 to 4.7% in 2019, and did not recover its pre-crisis levels until 2016.

Unemployment surged in 2021, likely as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This appears to have been sharper in London. From 2020 to 2021 the unemployment rate in Inner London rose by 27% (1.3 percentage points) and in Outer London by 39% (1.9ppt), compared to the Rest of England, where it rose by 7% (0.3ppt).

In 2022, unemployment declined to below pre-pandemic levels before rising slightly in 2023. The rise in London was larger than in the rest of England.

Throughout the period covered in this indicator, unemployment has remained consistently higher in London than in the rest of England.

*Unemployment rate: 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.