Area focus: London

The latest figures released on London’s labour market show another positive increase in employment with no sign of the much-feared post-Olympic slump adding further damage to the jobs market … at least, not yet.

Totaljobs own barometer highlighted a small growth in the number of jobs advertised between July 2012 (25,328) and January 2013 (26,561), although the difference in the number of applications was much higher – 623,421 compared to 696,822. Having said that, this can be attributed to traditional seasonal fluctuations, as the New Year is one of the key times for people to begin searching for a new job.


London in comparison with the UK

Of course, it’s all well and good talking about how many jobs are available, but how many people are actually unemployed in London, and how does this compare with the rest of the country? Taking a wider view of London’s Job market, the three months to December 2012 saw the capital’s employment rate standing at 70.3%, an increase of 0.6 per cent on the previous three months.

This broadly reflects a nationwide optimism, with almost 30 million people in work at the end of 2012, an increase of 154,000 on the quarter to September and the highest total since records began, in 1971, according to the Office for National Statistics. However, youth unemployment is not such a success story, seeing an increase of 11,000, the highest rise for a year, to 974,000 while the number of people with more than one job also increased by 41,000, to 1.1 million.

It would appear that women have been the main beneficiaries of London’s employment increase, with the female employment rate up 1.3 percentage points in the region across the same period. During this time, the employment rate of working age men in London stood at 76.5%, 0.1 per cent lower than the rate for the rest of the UK (76.6%). In the capital, the employment rate amongst men was 0.1 percentage points down on the previous quarter. At the same time the national rate increased by 0.1 per cent.

Returning to the current figures, the overall unemployment rate in London stands at 8.4%, 0.3 percentage points lower than the last quarter, although a slight increase on the previous month. There are now around 362,000 people aged 16 and over who are unemployed in London, this is down 10,000 on the last quarter.

In January 2013, there were 221,100 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in London and 1,540,900 in the UK. This puts the percentage of London’s resident working age population claiming JSA at 3.9%, the same as the previous month. The figure for the rest of the UK was 3.8%, so the capital is fairing a little better.

Meanwhile, the year-on-year figures show that there are in excess of 171,000 more working-age Londoners in employment than this time last year, representing a healthy increase of 4.7%. Here, the national average stands at 1.7%, so London is outperforming most other areas of the country in this respect – and it’s not just due to the Olympics. Indeed, Londoners have accounted for approximately one-third of the national increase in employment over the past year.

Looking back further through last year, in May 2012, there were 665,140 people of working age in London claiming out of work benefits. This was equivalent to 11.7% of the working age population, compared to 11.9% across the country as a whole. It’s also worth noting that in London, workers get an average of £41,767, 21% above the national average – although this is probably more likely to reflect the huge difference in the cost of living.

London has a high transient population and a vast number of commuters, so this factor can often distort any clear analysis of employment figures – with the capital supplying employment for large swathes of surrounding regions. There is also a huge disparity across the capital’s boroughs; Hackney and Tower Hamlets having the highest claimant count at over 10%, compared to around 3% for the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and the City. However, what is clear is that, as a major trading hub there is still a considerable amount of investment in terms of employment coming into the capital, and for the moment it would appear that jobs are on the up.

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