Economic inactivity by reason

Reasons why the working age population are not active in the labour market

Economic inactivity measures those that are not in work or unemployed.  Individuals can be economically inactive for a wide range of reasons including that they are in education, have health issues or disabilities that prevent them from work, have caring responsibilities or have retired. These non-workers are not classified as unemployed because, at the time of the survey, they are not actively seeking employment. However, despite this, many economically inactive people state that they would like a job in their survey response. 

In the Jul 20-Jun 21 twelve-month period, among economically inactive 16 to 64 year-olds in the North East LEP area:

  • A higher percentage than nationally cited long-term or temporary sickness as a reason for their economic inactivity
  • a lower proportion than nationally were inactive due to study
  • the percentage of inactivity due to looking after home / family was slightly higher than in England excluding London
  • the percentage of inactivity due to early retirement was slightly lower 
  • respondents were more likely to say they wanted a job than nationally, despite being classified as not actively looking for work.

Within the North East, among local authority areas, the percentage of inactive working age people citing specific reasons for inactivity was highest in:

  • Temporary or long-term sickness: Gateshead and Sunderland
  • Study: Newcastle upon Tyne and North Tyneside
  • Looking after home and/or family: Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland
  • Retirement: Northumberland

In the seven years since Jul 13-Jun 14, the numbers of economically inactive 16 to 64 year olds in the North East citing one of the four main reasons have each decreased. However, the number citing sickness has only decreased by about 1,500, compared to falls of over 12,000 in the numbers citing study and retirement and a decrease of 5,000 in the number citing looking after home or family. The latest number of economically inactive people wanting a job is about 8,000 lower than seven years earlier.

Compared to a year earlier, the latest data shows an increase of 3,100 in North East inactivity due to early retirement and a smaller increase of 1,600 in inactivity due to sickness. The latest statistics cover a twelve-month period, during which the economy was affected by Covid-19.

Economic inactivity by reason (%), North East LEP, England, England excluding London

Last updated:
15/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Annual Population Survey  [Nomis, last updated 12 Oct 2021]

Data information: Percentage of all economically inactive people (aged 16-64) by main reason cited for inactivity and whether a job is wanted. Based on North East LEP area, England, England excluding London. Categories in the published data have been combined.


Economic inactivity by reason (%), North East LEP local authorities

Last updated:
15/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Annual Population Survey  [Nomis, last updated 12 Oct 2021]

Data information: Percentage of all economically inactive people (aged 16-64) by main reason cited for inactivity. "Other, including discouraged" is not charted. Based on local authority areas. Categories in the published data have been combined.


Economic inactivity by reason, North East LEP, since 2014

Last updated:
15/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Annual Population Survey  [Nomis, last updated 12 Oct 2021]

Data information: Economically inactive people (aged 16-64) by main reason cited for inactivity and whether a job is wanted. Categories in the published data have been combined.