About the data
To be classified as in employment one must be aged 16 years or over, have completed at least one hour per week of paid work, or be in work but temporarily away from it, be on a government supported training or employment programme, or be working in a family business without a formal wage or salary but benefitting from its profits.
Data from the Labour Force Survey estimated there to be 247,500 16-64 year olds in employment in Somerset between Jan 2022 and Dec 2022, a rate of 77.8%. It is slightly below the South West rate of 81.1% and higher than the UK rate of 75.5%. Within Somerset the highest employment rate was in Mendip (84.4%), where 56,300 working age residents were in employment, closely followed by Somerset West and Taunton (77.3%) with 67,100. Jointly Sedgemoor and South Somerset had the lowest rate of 75.2%.
Unemployment, as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), refers to people who are without a job who have been actively seeking work in the past four weeks and are available to start work in the next two weeks, or, who are out of work, have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next two weeks.
Between Jan and Dec 2022, it is estimated that there were 7,800 unemployed working age residents in Somerset. This is a rate of 3.1%, which is broadly similar to the South West average of 2.7%. Data at district level is typically less robust, unemployment rate was highest in Sedgemoor at 5.4% and lowest in South Somerset with 2.9%.
Economic inactivity is that section of the working age population not in employment nor actively seeking employment. These persons are therefore not part of the working population. The main reasons for economic inactivity include being a student, looking after family or home, being long-term sick, and being retired.
Data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimated there were 62,900 economically inactive residents aged 16-64 in Somerset between Jan – Dec 2022. This is 19.8% of Somerset’s working age this was narrowly higher than the rate for the whole of the South West of 19.5%, but lower than the UK average (21.7%). At the district level within Somerset, Mendip had approximately 8,300 economically inactive working age residents and the lowest economic inactivity rate of 12.5%, followed by Sedgemoor with 14,700 and a rate of 20.5%. The highest economic inactivity rate of 22.6% was in South Somerset, where 21,100. Somerset West and Taunton had 21.6% with 18,800 16-64 year olds economically inactive.
As has historically been the case, the self-employment rate in Somerset remains higher than the national average according to the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS). Between Jan and Dec 2022 there was an estimated 35,700 people self-employed in Somerset, a rate of 11.2% the same rate for the South West but the UK has a lower rate of 9.3% for the UK.
Using the LFS data we can see that Mendip had the highest self-employment figure of 23.1%, followed by Somerset West and Taunton 8.3%. Sedgemoor had the lowest reported self-employment rate of 7.1%. Note that district level data has limitations regarding sample sizes for smaller geographies.
Source: ONS, NOMIS, Annual Population Survey – Jan – Dec 2022