Economic Situation

Cabinet Office written question – answered at on 23 May 2024.

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Photo of Lord Wigley Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru

To ask His Majesty's Government what are the most recent statistics on the Economic Activity Rate of each of the UK's four nations, and what were the equivalent rates (1) 10, and (2) 20, years earlier.

Photo of Baroness Neville-Rolfe Baroness Neville-Rolfe Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

Please see the letter attached from the National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority.

The Rt Hon. the Lord Wigley

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

Dear Lord Wigley,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what are the most recent statistics on the Economic Activity Rate of each of the UK’s four nations, and what were the equivalent rates (1) 10, and (2) 20, years earlier (HL4552).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) collects information on the labour market status of individuals through the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which is a survey of people resident in households in the UK.

The responses allow us to identify how many people are economically active; that is, those who are engaged with the labour market, either through employment or who are unemployed and actively seeking work. We are also able to calculate economic activity rates by region using these data.

Due to the current smaller sample sizes being achieved by the LFS, recent estimates are showing increased volatility and should be treated with additional caution. We are currently undertaking a programme of work to improve our estimates of the UK labour market. As part of this work, we have updated our labour market estimates from July to September 2022 onwards to incorporate more up to date estimates of the UK population. Labour market estimates prior to this remain based on older population estimates. Therefore, the latest available estimates of the UK labour market, for January to March 2024, are on a different population basis than those ten and twenty years earlier. As a result of this we recommend caution when considering long-term movements in these series.

The latest available estimates (January to March 2024) of the economic activity rates, for people aged 16 to 64 years, resident in each of the UK’s four nations are presented in Table 1, alongside estimates for January to March 2014 and January to March 2004.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Economic Activity Rates, people aged 16 to 64 years, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, seasonally adjusted.

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

January to March 2004

77.1%

77.0%

74.3%

69.2%

January to March 2014

78.1%

78.4%

75.1%

73.0%

January to March 2024 [1]

78.4%

76.6%

72.0%

73.4%

Source: Labour Force Survey

[1] Estimate based on more up to date population estimates and subject to greater volatility due to smaller achieved sample sizes. We advise caution when interpreting movements in these series.

Letter from Sir Ian Diamond, National Statistician (pdf, 99.9KB)

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