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United Kingdom Unemployment

United Kingdom Unemployment

Unemployment in United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's labor market from 2013 to 2022 showed resilience. The unemployment rate steadily declined early in the decade, reaching historic lows by 2019. However, Brexit uncertainties and the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions, leading to a temporary spike in unemployment. By 2022, the job market had largely recovered, with unemployment rates back below pre-pandemic levels, although challenges such as labor shortages in specific sectors persisted.

The unemployment rate in the United Kingdom averaged 4.9% in the decade to 2022, below the 6.3% average for major economies. The unemployment rate in 2022 was 3.7%. For more unemployment information, visit our dedicated page.

United Kingdom Unemployment Chart

Note: This chart displays Unemployment Rate for United Kingdom from 2013 to 2022.
Source: UK Office for National Statistics.

United Kingdom Unemployment Data

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unemployment (% of active population, aop) 4.1 3.8 4.6 4.5 3.7
Unemployment (% of active population, rolling qt) 4.0 3.8 5.2 4.0 3.7

Labor market remains solid at outset of Q4

According to the ONS, vacancy numbers declined in the three months to October for the 16th consecutive period, though employment increased by 33,000 in October according to experimental data, and wage growth in the three months to September outstripped inflation, supporting consumers’ purchasing power. Official unemployment figures were not published together with the aforementioned labor market data due to quality concerns, though experimental data released by the statistics office put the unemployment rate at 4.2% in Q3, in line with Q2 but up from the low-point of 3.5% reached in mid-2022. Overall, these figures show that the labor market is still in solid shape, despite having lost dynamism over the last 12 months.

Consensus Forecasts and Projections for the next ten years

How should you choose a forecaster if some are too optimistic while others are too pessimistic? FocusEconomics collects British unemployment projections for the next ten years from a panel of 34 analysts at the leading national, regional and global forecast institutions. These projections are then validated by our in-house team of economists and data analysts and averaged to provide one Consensus Forecast you can rely on for each indicator. By averaging all forecasts, upside and downside forecasting errors tend to cancel each other out, leading to the most reliable unemployment forecast available for British unemployment.

Download one of our sample reports to visualize what a Consensus Forecast is and see our British unemployment projections.

Want to get access to the full dataset of British unemployment forecasts? Send an email to

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