Length of time spent in unemployment

Published

Last updated 3 August 2021 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

This page will not be updated with 2020 data. This is because the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is reweighting the data we use for this page, to account for the effects of population changes and COVID-19 on labour market statistics.

  • in 2018, there were no real differences in the amount of time spent in unemployment between White people and those from the Other ethnic group (made up of all other ethnic groups combined)

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures how long people in England, Wales and Scotland spent in unemployment. This is based on the length of time they were looking for work or since they last had a job – whichever was shortest.

Someone is classed as unemployed if they:

  • are out of work
  • are available to start work in the next 2 weeks
  • have either been looking for work in the past 4 weeks or have found a job and are waiting to start

Percentages are rounded to whole numbers.

Not included in the data

The data does not include estimates based on fewer than:

  • 30 survey respondents for data covering all ethnic groups together
  • 100 survey respondents for data broken down by ethnicity

This is to protect people’s confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to make reliable generalisations.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for 2 ethnic groups:

  • White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other than White – all other ethnic groups combined

This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make any reliable conclusions about any of the 18 ethnic groups.

People whose ethnicity is not known are included in the figures for ‘All’.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for this data.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:

In the data file

See Download the data for:

  • estimates rounded to 1 decimal place
  • estimates by area
  • estimates over time
  • confidence intervals for each ethnic group

3. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of people who were unemployed, by ethnicity and time spent in unemployment
All White Other than White
Duration All % All Number of people unemployed White % White Number of people unemployed Other than White % Other than White Number of people unemployed
0-3 months 44 600,400 45 473,100 42 126,500
3-12 months 31 415,400 30 321,800 31 93,600
1+ years 25 336,300 25 260,300 25 75,700

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Length of time spent in unemployment By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2018, there were no real differences in the amount of time spent in unemployment between White people and those from the Other ethnic group (made up of all other ethnic groups combined)
  • 45% of White unemployed people were unemployed for less than 3 months, compared with 42% of those from the Other ethnic group
  • 30% of White unemployed people were unemployed for 3 to 12 months, compared with 31% of those from the Other ethnic group
  • 25% of unemployed people from both the White and Other ethnic groups were unemployed for 1 year or more

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is the largest ongoing household survey in the UK and covers a range of topics, including:

  • personal characteristics
  • labour market status
  • work characteristics
  • education
  • health

The purpose of the APS is to provide information on important social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.

The published statistics also allow government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between Censuses.

5. Download the data

Length of unemployment - Spreadsheet (csv) 310 KB

This file contains the following: Measure, Measure_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_type, Region, Value, Confidence_interval, Numerator , Denominator, Sample_size