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 237,700 16-64 year olds in employment in Somerset between July 2020 and June 2021, a rate of 75.2%. It is slightly below the South West rate of 76.1% and higher than the UK rate of 74.3%. Within Somerset the highest employment rate was in Mendip (77.7%), where 51,300 working age residents were in employment, closely followed by Somerset West and Taunton (77%) with 65,200. Sedgemoor had the lowest rate of 71.4% with 52,500 16-64 year olds employed, South Somerset had a rate of 74.7% with 68,700 employed.
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 July 2020 and June 2021, it is estimated that there were 9,500 unemployed working age residents in Somerset. This is a rate of 3.8%, which is broadly similar to the South West average of 3.9%, but notably lower than the UK average of 5.1%. Data at district level is typically less robust, unemployment rate was highest in Sedgemoor at 5.5% and lowest in South Somerset with 1.3%.
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 69,000 economically inactive residents aged 16-64 in Somerset between July 2020 and June 2021. This is 21.8% of Somerset’s working age this is the highest rate of economic inactivity seen in Somerset for several years. This was narrowly higher than the rate for the whole of the South West of 20%, but the same for the UK average (21.8%). At the district level within Somerset, Mendip had approximately 12,300 economically inactive working age residents and the lowest economic inactivity rate of 18.7%, followed by Somerset West and Taunton with 16,300 and a rate of 19.3%. The highest economic inactivity rate of 24.4% was in Sedgemoor and South Somerset, where 17,900 and 22,400 16-64 year olds were 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 July 2020 and June 2021 there was an estimated 30,200 people self-employed in Somerset, a rate of 9.6% compared to 10.7% for the South West and 9.4% for the UK.
Using the LFS data we can see that Mendip had the highest self-employment figure of 11.6%, followed by Somerset West and Taunton 10.2%. Sedgemoor had the lowest reported self-employment rate of 6.8%. Note that district level data has limitations regarding sample sizes for smaller geographies.
Source: ONS, NOMIS, Annual Population Survey – July 2020 – June 2021