Official data shows a significant fall in workless households in the second quarter of 2014

5 November 2014

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the number of workless households in the UK has fallen by 1.4 per cent compared with the previous year.

This is reported to be the biggest annual fall since 1996 but reflects a steady decrease in workless households over the past four years. The ONS report shows that under just under 16 per cent of households which include a working age adult are workless and that the number of households where all working age adults are in employment is 55.3 per cent, an increase of 1.5 per cent.

Speaking to The Guardian, Geraint Johnes, director at Lancaster University’s Work Foundation, said: “As with other labour market statistics in recent months, the headline figures indicate a favourable trajectory [and] a continued reduction in the number of workless households would obviously be desirable.
“Equally, attention should be focused on the extent of engagement with the labour market. If people wish to supply their labour full-time, they should be supported to find full-time work. As far as possible, they should also be supported in maximising their potential, entering quality jobs that offer the prospect of a developing career.”

The figures also reveal the unequal distribution of workless households across the UK, with 21 per cent concentrated in the north-east compared to 12 per cent in the south-east.
The report also showed that the percentage of households where no adult has ever worked has stayed the same at 1.5 per cent. This points to the fact that those who are potentially furthest from the labour market are still not benefiting from the apparent rise in employment levels.