Some of the data in this indicator are seasonally adjusted data. The purpose of seasonal adjustment is to remove systematic calendar-related variation associated with the time of the year, that is, seasonal effects. This allows comparisons between consecutive time periods. Not all data is seasonally adjusted - disability and country of birth are not, and non-seasonally adjusted headline figures of unemployed people aged 16 and over are included as well as non-seasonally adjusted disaggregated data for age and sex. Seasonally adjusted figures are the headline figures, non-seasonally adjusted are for reference when using the disaggregations which have not been seasonally adjusted.

Sub-categories

Choose categories from the dropdowns below to see different breakdowns of the data. Some will not be available until a higher level is chosen.

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Headline data

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Geographical Area: United Kingdom

Unit of Measurement: Percentage (%) of economically active

Footnote: Due to the COVID19 pandemic, all face-to-face interviewing for the Labour Force Survey was suspended and replaced with telephone interviewing. This change in mode for first interviews has changed the non-response bias of the survey, affecting interviews from March 2020 onwards. More information can be found in an article on the ONS website. Estimates presented in this chart for Q1 and Q2 2020 have been reweighted to account for this bias.

This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.

Indicator available
Indicator description

The unemployment rate is a useful measure of the underutilization of the labour supply. It reflects the inability of an economy to generate employment for those persons who want to work but are not doing so, even though they are available for employment and actively seeking work. It is thus seen as an indicator of the efficiency and effectiveness of an economy to absorb its labour force and of the performance of the labour market. Short-term time series of the unemployment rate can be used to signal changes in the business cycle; upward movements in the indicator often coincide with recessionary periods or in some cases with the beginning of an expansionary period as persons previously not in the labour market begin to test conditions through an active job search.

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Unit of measurement

Percentage (%) of economically active

Definitions

Unemployment measures people of age 16 and over without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. The unemployment rate is the proportion of all employed and unemployed people (not the proportion of the total population) who are unemployed.

Disability Status - The (GSS) harmonised "core" definition identifies a person as disabled if they have a physical or mental health condition or illness that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or more. It must reduce their ability to carry-out day-to-day activities. It is important to note that a person who has a long-term illness that does not reduce their ability to carry-out day-to-day activities is not disabled under the definition. The GSS harmonised questions are asked of the respondent in the survey, meaning that disability status is self-reported. The GSS definition is designed to reflect the definitions that appear in legal terms in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) for Northern Ireland and the 2010 Equality Act for Great Britain

Available disaggregations
Calculations
Other information

The figures for unemployment and economically active individuals are measured for the ages 16 and above.

Nationality is available alongside country of birth from the source (see Sources tab).

The Washington Group on Disability Statistics are often used to provide a cross- nationally comparable population-based measures of disability. Please see the article Measuring disability - comparing approaches for a comparison between the GSS Harmonised measure (used here) and the Washington Group measure.

For not seasonally adjusted data, it is best practice to only compare the same quarter for different years (e.g., compare January-March 2018 with January-March 2019 but do not compare July-September 2018 with January-March 2019).

Data follows the UN specification for this indicator. This indicator has been identified in collaboration with topic experts.

Data last updated 23 July 2021
Metadata last updated 23 July 2021

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.

Indicator name

Unemployment rate, by sex, age and persons with disabilities

Target name

By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value

Global indicator description
UN designated tier

Tier I

UN custodian agency

International Labour Organization (ILO)

Link to UN metadata United Nations Sustainable Development Goals metadata for target 8.5 opens in a new window

Source 1

Organisation

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Periodicity

Monthly

Earliest available data

1992

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Labour market statistics time series opens in a new window
Release date 10 November 2020
Next release

15/12/2020

Statistical classification

National Statistic

Contact details

labour.market@ons.gov.uk

Other information

Source 2

Organisation

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Periodicity

Quarterly

Earliest available data

2013

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Labour market status of disabled people opens in a new window
Release date 10 November 2020
Next release

23/02/2021

Statistical classification

National Statistic

Contact details

labour.market@ons.gov.uk

Other information

Special note - the estimates in this table from 2013 onwards are not directly comparable with those from earlier years. This is because there was a change in the reporting behaviour of survey respondents at the start of 2013 related to a change in the wording of the survey questionnaire.

This source gives estimates for the economic activity of people with disabilities aged 16-64.

Non-disabled (GSS harmonised) includes people reporting a health problem but are not classified as having a long-term health problem or disability under the Government Statistical Service harmonised standard definition of disability. Respondents who did not answer questions on their health situation are not included in the estimates presented here.

Source 3

Organisation

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Periodicity

Quarterly

Earliest available data

1997

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity by nationality and country of birth opens in a new window
Release date 10 November 2020
Next release

23/02/2021

Statistical classification

National Statistic

Contact details

labour.market@ons.gov.uk

Other information

EU series within ‘country of birth’ does not include people born in the UK for the entirety of the series. Non-EU born and EU born are subcategories of Non-UK born.

Source 4

Organisation

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Periodicity

Monthly

Earliest available data

1992

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity by age group (not seasonally adjusted) opens in a new window
Release date 10 November 2020
Next release

15/12/2020

Statistical classification

National Statistic

Contact details

labour.market@ons.gov.uk

Other information