UK unemployment rate: latest ONS figures for each region of the UK - and which sectors have been worst hit

Unemployment has risen across the UK from September to November 2020Unemployment has risen across the UK from September to November 2020
Unemployment has risen across the UK from September to November 2020
Figures show the rate of unemployment has risen between September and November as the UK continues to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic

Unemployment across the UK has risen during the coronavirus pandemic, with many industries having to adapt its operations and some businesses closing.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of people out of work has risen from 4.4% to 5% in the three months to November 2020.

It means 1.72 million people are out of work across the UK.

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Here we take a look at how the rates compare across the country and the changes in unemployment over time, as well as those industry sectors worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

How do unemployment rates compare through history?

The current rate of unemployment in the UK has risen to 5% - the highest it has been for nearly five years.

It is still some way below the high numbers of unemployment following the 2008 financial crash, which peaked at 8% in 2011.

Since then the number of people actively looking for work has steadily decreased through the years and was 3.85% in 2019 - the lowest rates of unemployment over the past 30 years.

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The highest rate of unemployment over the last three decades came in 1993 when it peaked at 10.35% before gradually falling again.

Unfortunately, experts predict unemployment rates to rise further over the coming months during the pandemic.

Online economic indicators Trading Economics forecast the rate to jump to 5.5% in December 2020.

What are the worst hit geographical areas?

London has seen the biggest rise in unemployment rates, currently 6.9%, and up from 4.3% compared to this time last year.

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The North East (6.4%) and West Midlands (6%) are also high on the number of people out of work, according to ONS data.

Yorkshire and the Humber’s unemployment rate is up from 3.9% in the previous two quarters to 5.1% in the final quarter of 2020.

Overall, unemployment has risen in every UK region compared to the same time last year, from 3.8% in November 2019 to 5% in November 2020.

Region Unemployment rate (Nov 2020) Unemployment rate (Nov 2019)
North East 6.4 6.2
North West 4.7 4.2

Yorkshire and the Humber

5.1 4.3

East Midlands

5.6 3.9
West Midlands 6 4.3

East of England

4.6 3.3


6.9 4.3

South East

3.7 3.3

South West

4.1 2.8
England 5.2 3.9
Wales 4.6 3
Scotland 4.4 3.8
Northern Ireland 3.2 2.3
UK 5 3.8

What are the worst hit sectors?

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Restrictions put on daily lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic has meant a change in habits and behaviours for many.

The stats released by the ONS come at a time when the country has been placed in a third national lockdown in the last year.

Social activity has been restricted as the UK government looks to limit the spread of the deadly virus, as the vaccines are being rolled out.

It has forced many businesses to close its doors, be it temporarily or permanently, while others have had to adapt to stay alive.

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The accommodation and food services sector saw a fall of 343,000 on the payroll between February and December 2020, according to ONS figures.

The arts, entertainment and recreation sector had a similar percentage drop off, around 15%, during the same time period.

It is estimated that there are 793,000 less payrolled employees compared to the same period the previous year (2019).

The largest increase in payrolled employees was in the health and social work sector, which saw a rise of 82,000 employees in 2020.

How many job vacancies were there in December?

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There were 578,000 job vacancies between October and December - 81,000 more than during the previous quarter.

But the recovery in numbers slowed compared to between July and September and follows a sharp drop in vacancies at the start of the pandemic.

Vacancies are still below the pre-pandemic level - there are 224,000, or 27.9%, fewer vacancies now than a year ago.