HC Deb 28 July 2000 vol 354 cc1020-1W
Mr. Field

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many parliamentary constituencies(a) the employment rate has gone down and (b) both the employment rate and unemployment rate have gone down, in the past (i) six months, (ii) one year and (iii) two years and (iv) three years; and if he will give the source for each statistic. [131182]

Miss Melanie Johnson

[holding answer 18 July 2000]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to write to my right hon. Friend.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Field dated 28 July 2000As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question about employment and unemployment rates in parliamentary constituencies. (131182). Information on economic activity at parliamentary constituency level can be derived on an annual basis from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which is National Statistics' main source of labour market data on individuals. The latest estimates cover the year from March 1998 to February 1999. These show that the employment rate in 274 our of 659 constituencies was lower than in the year from March 1997 in February 1998. In 238 constituencies the rate was lower than in the year from March 1996 to February 1997, the earliest period for which estimates are available. National Statistics' preferred measure of unemployment is the International Labour Organisation (ILO) unemployment rate, derived from the LFS. As with any sample survey LFS estimates are subject to sampling variability. The smaller the estimate, the larger the variability relative to the size of the estimate. Unfortunately analyses of unemployment at parliamentary constituency level only provide reliable estimates for a small proportion of constituencies. So it is not possible from the LFS to provide a total of those constituencies where both employment and unemployment have fallen. People aged 16 or over are classed as in employment by the LFS if they have done at least one hour of paid work (as an employee or self-employed) in the week prior to their LFS interview or if they have a job that they are temporarily away from. People who do unpaid work in a family business and people on Government-supported training and employment programmes are also included according to the International Labour Organisation convention.