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How well are women doing? Female non-employment across UK regions

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Discussions of the UK's recent labour market performance commonly mention the contrasting trends in the unemployment rate (down), the employment rate (up) and the inactivity rate (flat). These same commentaries also notice that the 'flatness' of the overall inactivity rate masks contrasting trends by sex, with male rates (slowly rising) and female rates (slowly falling) and then proceed to discuss male inactivity in some detail before concluding. Bypassing the composition of female inactivity, these commentaries fail to notice that the male and the female proportions of the population not working by reason of sickness or disability are quite similar. Equally they have rarely noticed that male and female non-employment rates display a very similar regional hierarchy with female rates in the 'North' as much as 50% higher than those in the 'South', and that there is an even steeper North-South gradient in some of the components of non-employment. For example, sickness and disability rates for females in the North are up to 10% of the working age population, while in the South rates are typically less than half that size.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland, Belfast BT1 3NQ, United Kingdom

Publication date: 2007-08-01

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