INDUSTRIOUS Britons are defying the global economic slump, with the proportion of homes in which no one works falling to its lowest rate since records began in 1996.
Official data released yesterday showed that, when surveying homes in which at least one person is aged between 16 and 64 years old, 17.1 per cent of these households are workless.
The figure is down from 17.9 per cent in the same period in 2012, and sharply down from the 19.2 per cent recorded in 2010.
The data was compiled between April and June by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and shows 3.5m households in the UK where all inhabitants are out of work. In 11m households everyone over the age of 16 is employed, while 5.9m households are home to both working and non-working people.
Despite sluggish growth in recent years, the UK’s labour market has held up relatively well. Unemployment in the UK was 7.8 per cent from April to June, compared to a European Union average of 10.9 per cent in June.
Joblessness in France reached an all-time record high in July, with 3,285,700 registered as out of work.
However, the labour market in the UK varies considerably between different regions. In the north east nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of applicable households are workless, while the situation is nearly as bad in Northern Ireland (22 per cent).
At the other end of the scale, only 13 per cent of measured households in the south east – excluding London – are workless, with the east of England also faring well on 14 per cent.
Despite a relative improvement, some of the figures will remain a concern for policymakers. This year the ONS recorded 297,000 households in which no adult has ever worked, albeit down 43,000 from a year earlier.
Excluding students, 224,000 households contain only people that have never worked, down 41,000 from a year earlier.