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Employment and Unemployment   Download this section


York's population is well qualified. Recently ranked as the highest performing city in England in the human resources category (The MJ & Local Futures Guide to England, 2013) and ranked 2nd out of 74 UK cities for talent in the Santander Towns and Cities Index 2013.

Those with qualifications at level 4 and above is 41.3%, outperforming the region at 29.7% and Great Britain at 34.4%. York also has a comparatively low proportion of its population with no qualifications – 6.4% compared to the region at 11.5% and Great Britain at 9.7%.

York has achieved its best GCSE results with 67% of pupils achieving 5+A*-C including English and mathematics. This places York as one of the top (16th out of 152) Local Authorities in England.

The gap in attainment between disadvantaged young people (disadvantage being categorised by qualifying for free school meals) and their peers is amongst the widest in the country. This difference in attainment by age 19 between this disadvantaged group and their peers is amongst the worst 10% in the country. 

Those eligible for free school meals throughout their time at school is around 300 people per year and it is this group of pupils who are not achieving at the same levels as other young people in the same age group. 

A joint project to better understand how improvements can be made for this group is being established between Joseph Rowntree Foundation and York Education Partnership.


Job Seekers Allowance Claimants

York has a statistically lower level of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants than regional and national averages. The Job Seekers Allowance Claimant count for York in January 2014 is 2,183, representing 1.6% of the working age population. The region stands at 3.9% and Great Britain at 3.0%.

Total Job Seekers Allowance Claimants: York vs Yorkshire & The Humber vs Great Britain. May 2009 to October 2013


The Centre for Cities provides independent research and policy analysis on UK City economies. It ranks York as the joint second least affected city for change in job seekers allowance claimant count proportion since February 2008.


Change in Youth Claimant Count: York vs other UK cities. February 2008 to October 2013


Whilst overall, York has been resilient to economic factors that have contributed to greater unemployment in other areas of the country, there are some areas of York that have worse outcomes. 

The most deprived of York’s Wards which are Westfield, Heworth, Clifton, Holgate, Micklegate and Hull Road have;

  • The highest number of benefit claimants
  • The highest number of long-term benefit claimants
  • The highest number of youth benefit claimants 
  • The highest number of benefit claimants aged over 50



York has a statistically lower level of out of work benefit claimants than regional and national averages. The York figure is 6.4% of the working age population compared to 12.2% across the Yorkshire & Humber region and 10.9% across Great Britain. 

This is the lowest level of out of work benefit claimants for York since data was first collected in the year 2000. 

Out of work benefits consist of:

Working-age client group - key benefit claimants (August 2013)
  York York Yorkshire and The Humber Great Britain
(numbers) (%) (%) (%)
Job seekers 2,320 1.7 4.1 3.2
ESA and incapacity benefits 5,000 3.8 6.3 6.1
Lone parents 900 0.7 1.3 1.3
Carers 930 0.7 1.5 1.3
Others on income related benefits 350 0.3 0.4 0.4
Disabled 1,020 0.8 1.2 1.2
Bereaved 240 0.2 0.2 0.2
Key out-of-work benefits† 8,560 6.4 12.2 10.9


The total benefit claimant count for York in August 2013 is 10,750, representing 8.1% of the working age population (NOMIS, 2014). The figure for the Yorkshire & Humber region stands at 15.1% and nationally this figure is at 13.6%.


Key Out-Of-Work Benefits: York vs Yorkshire & The Humber vs Great Britain. May 2003 to May 2013.


The Department for Work and Pensions Working Age Client Group data also highlights that the total Lone Parent claimants is the lowest on record, however the total number of Disability claimants is the highest on record.


Percentage of Working Age Population on Key Out-of-Work Benefits: York wards. May 2013


Ward level claimants of out of work benefits indicates the disparity between the local authority average and those who live in the most deprived wards in York.

For example, the proportion of claimants in Westfield ward is approximately twice that of the overall York figure.


This page was last updated on 20 April 2015
This page will be reviewed by 20 April 2016