South England employment rate drives boost - while Northern Ireland and the north east lag behind

 
Ashley Kirk
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People enter the Jobcentre Plus office in Bath (Source: Getty)

South east and south east England have the highest employment rates in the UK, while Northern Ireland and north east England lagged behind.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics reveal that 31m people in the UK were in employment in April 2015, forcing the unemployment rate down to 5.5 per cent nationally.

Meanwhile, wage growth beat expectations, increasing at its fastest rate since August 2001 - by 2.7 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

However, regional data shows how the different areas of the UK differ in employment.

While the UK had an average employment rate of 73.4 per cent for people aged between 16 and 64, this dropped to 68.4 per cent in Northern Ireland.

In south west England, the employment rate was 77.3 per cent, while it was 76.9 per cent in south east England.

The fastest growth in the employment rate was in north west England, which saw a 1.8 per cent boost on 2014.

Yorkshire and north east England, on the other hand, had decreases in their employment rate - of 0.3 and 0.1 per cent respectively.

The average year-on-year change in employment rate in the UK as a whole was 0.7 per cent.

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