The percentage of all UK households with at least one person aged 16 to 64 with no members in work was 17.1 per cent in the period April to June 2013 – down from 17.9 per cent in the same period the year before and the lowest since records began in 1996, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (release).
The 17.1 per cent accounts for 3.5m households, and is a fall of 182,000 from the year before.
The number of people aged between 16 and 64 living in workless households fell to 4.9m in the period – the first time it has been below five million since April to June 2008.
However, this decline was primarily due to a fall in the number of 50 to 64 year olds in workless households - down by 124,000 to 43 per cent of the total. By comparison, the number of 16 to 24 year olds in workless households rose by 15,000 to 19 per cent of the total.
Broken down by region, there was a clear North-South divide. The South East had the lowest proportion of workless households at just 13 per cent, while the North East had the highest at 23 per cent. London was just below average at 15 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of households where nobody had ever worked continued to fall from the 2011 peak. In 2013, there were 297,000 households where no one had ever worked, accounting for 500,000 people. Some 48 per cent of these were students and 18 per cent sick or disabled.