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Economic activity of residents

This page contains the following sections

Economic activity  
Employment rate  
Self-employment rate    
Economic activity of households   

Download census report on economic activity and qualifcations  (link to seperate page) 

The economic activity rate measures the proportion of the working age population (16-64) who are active or potentially active members of the labour market. A high economic activity rate means that a high proportion of people are working or available for work or training.

According to the Annual Population Survey 2016:

  • Herefordshire had a higher economic activity rate (80 per cent) than the West Midlands region (75 per cent) and England (78 per cent): this was due to higher rate of self-employment and lower unemployment than other areas, rather than more people being employees.
  • Of those who are economically inactive the greatest proportion (of all 16-64 year olds) are long term sick (5 per cent) or looking after the home or family (5 per cent), followed by students (4 per cent), retired (4 per cent) and due to other reasons (2 per cent).
  • In Herefordshire 84 per cent of men were economically active compared to 77 per cent of women. This difference in economic activity is the same as was seen nationally but smaller than regionally. The reasons for economic inactivity vary between men and women.  There is greater inactivity amongst women in the county because of retirement and looking after the family or home.

 Employment rate (employees+self-employed)

In 2016, the employment rate (as a proportion of those aged 16-64) in Herefordshire was 78 per cent, significantly higher than that for England (74 per cent) and the West Midlands region (71 per cent) – Figure 1. Since the recession, the proportion in part time employment has increased compared to fulltime employment (equivalent to a +4 per cent between 2008 and 2015).

Even though the employment rate is statistically significantly higher compared to the West midlands and England in 2015, there is not a statistically significant trend.

Figure 1: Employment rates for 16-64 years

Employment Rates For 16 64 Years

Source: Annual Population Survey 2016

Self employment rate

2016, the self-employment rate (as a proportion of those aged 16-64) in Herefordshire was 15 per cent; statistically significantly higher than across England (11 per cent), the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (12 per cent) and the West Midlands region (9 per cent) – figure 2.

Figure 2. Proportion of residents employed in each industry sector that are self-employed

Self Employment Rates For 16 64 Years

Source: Annual Population Survey 2016

Unemployment rate

In 2016, the unemployment rate (as a proportion of the economically active population) in Herefordshire was 5 per cent; similar across England and in the West Midlands region and slightly higher than the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership area (4 per cent).

 Note: this measure of unemployment is not the same as that based on the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance. For more information on both of these measures see the unemployment page

Economic activity of households  

The economic make-up of Herefordshire’s working age households[1] is fairly similar to England as a whole. 

The largest proportion of households in the county are those where all members are working (56 per cent of the 53,400 households) in calendar year 2016.  Mixed households (employed and unemployed or inactive) make up the next greatest proportion (30 per cent). Workless households, where every member of the household is either unemployed or inactive, make up 14 per cent of all households. Across England there were 57 per cent in working households, 29 per cent in mixed households and 15 per cent in workless households.

 Source: Annual Population Survey 2016

[1] households including at least one person aged 16-64


Last updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2018