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Employment and economic activity

Economic activity

The economic activity rate measures the proportion of the working age population (16 to 64) who are active, or potentially active, members of the labour market. A high economic activity rate means that a high proportion of people are working or available for work or training.

According to ONS (Annual Population Survey January - December 2022:

  • 76.6% of the working age (16-64) population of Herefordshire are economically active (meaning they are either in work or available for work): similar to regionally (77.5%) and nationally (78.7%).   The economic activity rate has fallen since the Covid-19 pandemic began from 82% in the period April 2019-March 2020, but the change is not statistically significant. 
  • Men are still more likely to be economically active than women: 83.0% compared to 70.2% as is the case regionally and nationally.
  • 75.3% of the working age population is in employment, similar to regionally (73.8%) and nationally (75.8%)
  • 13.5% of the working age population is self-employed, compared to 8.3% regionally and 9.3% nationally (Great Britain).  The proportion of women in Herefordshire who are self employed is noticeably higher than nationally and regionally: 12.0% compared to 6.3% regionally and 6.7% nationally.
  • Currently around 26,000 (23%) people of working age in Herefordshire are economically inactive (neither working or available for work): the same proportion as regionally and similar to nationally (21%).  This proportion rises to 32% amongst people with a core current disability, or work-limiting disability, as defined by the Equalities Act[1].
  • 35% of 16-19 year-olds are currently economically inactive (many are students) and 29% of 50-64 year-olds (some of whom will have retired).
  • 26% of those who are economically inactive (all ages 16-64) are inactive due to long-term sickness.

Model-based estimates of unemployment

  • In the period January to December 2022 the unemployment rate in Herefordshire was 2.6% (CI+-0.9), compared to 3.6% (CI+-0.1) in England as a whole and 4.6% (CI+-0.5) across the West Midlands region.
  • Herefordshire’s unemployment rate was lower than in England as a whole but not significantly so and significantly lower than the West Midlands region. It remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels, although not significantly so.
  • Compared to the previous period (October 2021 – September 2022), the Herefordshire rate was slightly lower (2.6% vs 3.1%) but the decrease was not statistically significant. In fact, due to the wide confidence intervals on these data, there has been no statistically significant change in the Herefordshire rate observed since January 2013 - December 2013.

Line chart showing the model-based estimates of unemployment rate since 2007-2008 for Herefordshire, the West Midlands and England.  In line with the position nationally, model-based estimates of unemployment are currently at historically relatively low levels.  Compared to pre-pandemic the Herefordshire rate remains higher but not significantly so

Source:  Office for National Statistics (NOMIS)

[1] EA Core disabled includes those who have a long-term disability which substantially limits their day-to-day activities.  Work-limiting disabled includes those who have a long-term disability which affects the kind or amount of work they might do.