Unemployment

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 4% of White people were unemployed in 2019, compared with 7% of people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • Black, and Bangladeshi and Pakistani people had the highest unemployment rate out of all ethnic groups (8%)
  • the White Other ethnic group had the lowest unemployment rate out of all ethnic groups (3%)
  • in every region in England and in Scotland, unemployment rates were lower for White people than for all other ethnic groups combined, with the biggest differences in West Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber
  • in Wales, unemployment rates were the same for White people and people in all other ethnic groups combined (4%)

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures the number and percentage of people in England, Scotland and Wales who are unemployed.

Percentages are worked out using the economically active population (people aged 16 and over who are employed or unemployed).

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

The data uses the ethnic categories from the 2011 Census.

Data is aggregated for the Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole.

Data is shown separately for White British people and all other White people (‘White Other’ ethnic group). Separate figures are also shown for 3 different Asian ethnic groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi combined, and Asian Other).

Some data is shown only for 2 ethnic groups:

  • White – all White ethnic groups, including White minorities
  • Other than White – all other ethnic groups

This is to make sure that estimates are reliable.

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

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for this data.

The Annual Population Survey updated its ethnicity questions in 2011. As a result, estimates from before and after 2011 may not be consistent, and data for individual ethnic groups in 2011 is not available.

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

In the data file

See Download the data for estimates:

  • by region, age group and sex over time for detailed ethnic groups
  • by local authority for White and Other than White groups
  • confidence intervals for each ethnic group – read about how we use confidence intervals
  • sample sizes
  • estimates rounded to 1 decimal place

3. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of the economically active population who were unemployed, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of people unemployed
All 4 1,287,300
Asian 6 135,700
Indian 4 37,000
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 8 64,000
Asian Other 6 34,700
Black 8 87,400
Mixed 6 25,000
White 4 996,900
White British 4 911,800
White Other 3 85,200
Other 7 41,800

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

Summary of Unemployment By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • in 2019, 4% of the economically active population (all people aged 16 and over who were employed or unemployed) were unemployed – just under 1.3 million people
  • 8% of Black, and Bangladeshi and Pakistani people were unemployed – the highest rate of all ethnic groups
  • 3% of the White Other ethnic group were unemployed – the lowest rate of all ethnic groups

4. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of the economically active population who were unemployed, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
All 5 5 5 5 6 8 8 8 8 8 6 5 5 4 4 4
Asian 9 9 10 10 9 11 11 not collected 12 12 9 8 7 7 6 6
Indian 7 7 8 7 7 9 8 not collected 10 9 6 7 5 6 4 4
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 13 13 15 15 15 17 16 not collected 17 18 14 12 11 10 8 8
Asian Other 9 8 8 9 7 9 9 not collected 10 9 8 7 6 6 6 6
Black 13 14 13 13 14 18 16 not collected 17 17 15 12 10 9 9 8
Mixed 12 12 11 12 13 14 15 not collected 16 16 13 11 11 7 7 6
White 4 4 5 5 5 7 7 not collected 7 7 6 5 4 4 4 4
White British 4 4 5 5 5 7 7 not collected 7 7 6 5 4 4 4 4
White Other 6 6 5 5 5 7 6 not collected 6 6 6 5 4 4 3 3
Other 11 11 13 10 11 12 13 not collected 14 13 10 9 7 8 8 7

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

Summary of Unemployment By ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that:

  • in every ethnic group, the unemployment rate was lower in 2019 than it was in 2004
  • the unemployment rates for the Mixed ethnic group, the Black ethnic group and the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi group were more than 5 percentage points lower in 2019 than in 2004, the largest decreases over the period

5. By ethnicity and gender

Percentage and number of the economically active population who were unemployed, by ethnicity and gender
All Men Women
Ethnicity All % All Number of people unemployed Men % Men Number of people unemployed Women % Women Number of people unemployed
All 4 1,287,300 4 716,700 4 570,700
Asian 6 135,700 5 71,800 7 63,900
Indian 4 37,000 4 20,900 4 16,000
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 8 64,000 7 34,000 11 30,000
Asian Other 6 34,700 6 16,800 6 17,900
Black 8 87,400 9 49,400 7 38,000
Mixed 6 25,000 7 13,400 6 11,700
White 4 996,900 4 564,200 3 432,800
White British 4 911,800 4 528,100 3 383,700
White Other 3 85,200 3 36,100 4 49,100
Other 7 41,800 6 17,700 10 24,100

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

Summary of Unemployment By ethnicity and gender Summary

The data shows that:

  • in 2019, the unemployment rates for the Other, White Other and combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups were higher for women than men
  • White women (3%) were less likely to be unemployed than women from all other ethnic groups combined (7%) – [download the data] to see these figures
  • White men (4%) were less likely to be unemployed than men from all other ethnic groups combined (6%) – download the data to see these figures

6. By ethnicity (White and Other than White)

Percentage and number of the economically active population who were unemployed, by ethnicity (White and Other than White)
Ethnicity % Number of people unemployed
All 4 1,287,300
White 4 996,900
Other than White 7 289,900

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (White and Other than White)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (White and Other than White)’ (CSV)

Summary of Unemployment By ethnicity (White and Other than White) Summary

The data shows that:

  • in 2019, 4% of White people were unemployed, compared with 7% of people from all other ethnic groups combined (shown here as ‘Other than White’)

7. By ethnicity and age (White and Other than White)

Percentage and number of the economically active population who were unemployed, by ethnicity and age (White and Other than White)
All White Other than White
Age All % All Number of people unemployed White % White Number of people unemployed Other than White % Other than White Number of people unemployed
All 4 1,287,300 4 996,900 7 289,900
16-24 11 468,300 10 364,800 19 103,500
25-49 3 548,000 3 398,500 5 149,300
50-64 3 251,300 3 216,100 4 35,100
65+ 2 19,700 1 17,500 3 1,900

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and age (White and Other than White)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and age (White and Other than White)’ (CSV)

Summary of Unemployment By ethnicity and age (White and Other than White) Summary

The data shows that:

  • in every age group, White people had a lower unemployment rate than people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • 16 to 24 year olds were more likely to be unemployed than any other age group, both for White people and all other ethnic groups combined
  • among 16 to 24 year olds, 10% of White people were unemployed, compared with 19% of people from all other ethnic groups combined – the largest gap of any age group
  • White people also had lower unemployment rates than people from all other ethnic groups combined among 25 to 49 year olds (3% and 5%), 50 to 64 year olds (3% and 4%) and over 65s (1% and 3%)

8. By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only, White and Other than White)

Percentage and number of economically active 16 to 24 year olds who were unemployed, by ethnicity over time (White and Other than White)
All White Other than White
Time All % All Number of people unemployed White % White Number of people unemployed Other than White % Other than White Number of people unemployed
2004 12 553,800 11 449,000 24 103,800
2005 13 591,300 12 489,800 23 100,800
2006 14 637,900 13 527,700 23 109,400
2007 14 638,900 13 529,000 24 109,300
2008 15 700,200 14 572,400 26 127,400
2009 19 862,000 18 725,100 29 135,500
2010 20 862,400 18 721,100 31 140,800
2011 21 960,200 not collected not collected not collected not collected
2012 21 946,200 20 778,400 33 167,500
2013 20 894,200 18 711,500 35 182,300
2014 17 742,100 16 605,000 27 135,100
2015 14 629,600 13 503,700 24 126,000
2016 13 569,600 12 450,500 23 119,100
2017 12 515,200 11 410,100 20 104,400
2018 12 486,100 11 384,300 18 101,700
2019 11 468,300 10 364,800 19 103,500

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only, White and Other than White)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only, White and Other than White)’ (CSV)

Summary of Unemployment By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only, White and Other than White) Summary

The data shows that:

  • in every year between 2004 and 2019, White people aged 16 to 24 had a lower unemployment rate than people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • 2013 saw the biggest difference in the rate between White 16 to 24 year olds and those from all other ethnic groups combined, at 17 percentage points – by 2019, the gap had reduced to 7 percentage points
  • between 2018 and 2019, the unemployment rate for White 16 to 24 year olds went down from 11% to 10% – the rate for 16 to 24 year olds from all other ethnic groups combined went up from 18% to 19%
  • the highest unemployment rate for White 16 to 24 year olds was 20% (in 2012)
  • the highest unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds from all other ethnic groups combined was 35% (in 2013)

9. By ethnicity and area (White and Other than White)

Percentage and number of the economically active population who were unemployed, by ethnicity and area (White and Other than White)
All White Other than White
Region All % All Number of people unemployed White % White Number of people unemployed Other than White % Other than White Number of people unemployed
All 4 1,287,300 4 996,900 7 289,900
East Midlands 4 91,600 3 74,300 6 17,000
East of England 3 102,900 3 88,300 5 14,600
London 5 224,400 3 107,700 7 116,400
North East 6 73,300 6 67,200 11 6,200
North West 4 147,300 4 122,400 7 24,900
Scotland 4 95,800 3 87,300 7 8,600
South East 3 144,500 3 125,100 4 19,400
South West 3 87,900 3 78,100 7 9,800
Wales 4 61,800 4 58,400 4 3,400
West Midlands 5 138,800 4 92,900 9 45,900
Yorkshire and The Humber 4 118,900 4 95,200 9 23,700

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and area (White and Other than White)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and area (White and Other than White)’ (CSV)

Summary of Unemployment By ethnicity and area (White and Other than White) Summary

The data shows that:

  • in almost all regions, White people were less likely to be unemployed than people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the exception was in Wales, where the unemployment rate was the same for both ethnic groups (4%)
  • the North East, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber had the largest unemployment rate gaps between White people and all other ethnic groups combined (all 5 percentage points or more)

10. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

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

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

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

The published statistics also allow the government to monitor estimates between Censuses.

11. Download the data

Unemployment by local authority - Spreadsheet (csv) 2 MB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, local authority, value, confidence interval, numerator, denominator, sample size

Unemployment by region - Spreadsheet (csv) 4 MB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, sex, age group, region, value, confidence interval, numerator, denominator, sample size