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Data Provider: Welsh Government National Statistics 16. Employment - Percentage of people aged 16-64 in work (ECON)
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Labour Force Survey: Summary of economic activity

Last update

15 February 2024 15 February 2024

Next update

14 March 2024

Publishing organisation

Welsh Government

Source 1

Labour Force Survey, Office for National Statistics

Contact email


National Statistics

Lowest level of geographical disaggregation

UK regions

Geographical coverage

UK regions

Languages covered

English and Welsh

Data licensing

You may use and re-use this data free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government License - see


Labour market; Employment; Unemployment; Economic inactive

General description

These data are taken from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The data are seasonally adjusted and are updated each month to give a time series of three month averages up to and including the latest three month period for the UK and each UK country and English region.

Data collection and calculation

The population can be broken down into economically active and economically inactive populations. The economically active population is made up of persons in employment, and persons unemployed according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition. This report allows the user to access these data.
Although each measure is available for different population bases, there is an official standard population base used for each of the measures, as follows.
Population aged 16 and over: Economic activity level, Employment level, ILO unemployment level
Population aged 16-64: Economic inactivity level
16-64 population is used as the base for economic inactivity. By excluding persons of pensionable age who are generally retired and therefore economically inactive, this gives a more appropriate measure of workforce inactivity.
Rates for each of the above measures are also calculated in a standard manner and are available in the dataset. With the exception of the ILO unemployment rate, each rate is defined in terms of the shares of population that fall into each category. The ILO unemployment rate is defined as ILO unemployed persons as a percentage of the economically active population.
Although each rate is available for the different population bases, there is an official standard population base used for each of the rates, as follows.
Percentage of population aged 16-64: Economic activity, Employment,. Economic inactivity
Percentage of economically active population aged 16 and over: ILO unemployment

Frequency of publication


Data reference periods

1992 to 2023

Rounding applied

Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand and so there may be some apparent slight discrepancies between the sum of constituent items and the totals as shown.

Revisions information

The LFS is not designed to measure changes in the levels of population or long-term international migration. To allow for different trends during the pandemic, the responses for the LFS have been reweighted on 14 June 2022, replacing the data that was previously reweighted on 15 July 2021. The reweighting has been applied from January to March 2020 onwards and gives improved estimates of both rates and levels. More information on the impact of the reweighting can be found in the Office for National Statistics article:

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have published reweighted Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for Wales after pausing the LFS based estimates in September 2023 following a decrease in data quality. The data has been reweighted from July to September 2022, resulting in a step change in the data, which means data is only directly comparable from this period onwards. Comparisons with periods prior to July to September 2022 are not strictly valid due to this discontinuity in the time series. The full impact of this reweighting is detailed in the article ‘Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators in Wales’, available in the February 2024 Labour Market Overview headline:


Statistical quality

All this information comes from the LFS, carried out by the ONS. As the data come from a survey, the results are sample-based estimates and therefore subject to differing degrees of sampling variability, i.e. the true value for any measure lies in a differing range about the estimated value. This range or sampling variability increases as the detail in the data increases, for example regional data are subject to higher variability than UK data.
LFS data is collected throughout the year, and is available from the ONS in a variety of ways. This dataset contains three-monthly figures for UK countries and the English regions, and is updated on a monthly basis, as referred to in the first bullet below.
Key data on the labour market is updated every month showing the position for the latest three months, for the UK and each of the UK countries and English regions. Note these data are seasonally adjusted and also that no sub-regional (i.e. local authority) data are published by the ONS to a monthly timetable.
Annual results covering the periods described earlier are also available from the ONS, providing more detailed data from the LFS, including data for sub-Wales geographies. These annual datasets use results from the samples for the quarterly surveys used for the key series, together with results from additional persons sampled to provide a more robust (boosted) dataset, with estimates subject to much lower sampling variability.
Note finally that the ILO unemployment measure differs from another commonly used measure of unemployment, namely the claimant count. The latter is a count of all those claiming unemployment benefit, and as such it is not subject to sampling variability. However, it excludes those who are unemployed who are not eligible to claim (for example those out of work but whose partner works), and those who do not wish to claim. The ILO measure, which is a count of those who are out of work and want a job, have actively sought work in the last 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next two weeks; plus those who are out of work, have found a job and are waiting to start in the next 2 weeks, is a more encompassing measure of unemployment, which is used around the world.