This section contains information on unemployment, occupational segregation, and economic inequality.

The chart below shows young people in Birmingham struggle with unemployment more than those in the rest of the country. In fact, Birmingham has almost double the 16-24 year old unemployment rate of the whole of England (which is not to say, of course, that young in the rest of the country have not struggled). Birmingham also has higher rates of unemployment in the 25-49 and 50+ age groups compared with the rest of England. On a more positive note, unemployment rates have continued to fall over the last year or so.

The difference between male and female unemployment in Birmingham is relatively small: most recent figures show the gap is just 0.3 percentage points (see chart below). (Interestingly, the difference between male and female unemployment in England is just 0.6%). Women are now more likely to be unemployed in Birmingham, although this is clearly only a recent phenomenon. It is also worth noting that despite significant reductions in the unemployment rate men and women in Birmingham are still more likely to be unemployed than they were at the start of the recession in 2008.  

Black people in Birmingham are approximately three times more likely to be unemployed than White British people. As can be seen, the inequality facing BME groups fell at the beginning of the financial crisis, but has gradually increased as these groups find themselves excluded from the recovery. And of course, even as the White unemployment rate rose sharply between 2007-09, the rates for Black and Asian groups were still significantly high. 

To show see the inequality more clearly have a look at the chart below. It shows how many Black and Asian are unemployed for every White unemployed person. 


A recent report from the Centre for Cities think tank measures economic inequality by dividing cities into neighbourhoods and then counting the percentage of Job Seeker Allowance (JSA) claimants in each neighbourhood. Economic inequality is measured by looking at the gap between the neighbourhood with the highest proportion of JSA claimants and the neighbourhood with the fewest. In November 2012 the highest claimant rate in a Birmingham neighbourhood was 24.1% compared to the lowest claimant rate of 0.4%. This gives a gap of 23.7%. The only city with a higher gap was Glasgow (25.4%). This is compared to an average gap of 13.7%.

In 2014, Black people in Birmingham tended to be concentrated in caring/leisure and professional occupations – although it is worth noting there were no Black people in managerial/director roles. In contrast, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers are highly concentrated in plant and machine operative roles – indeed, they are more than three times more likely to work in such jobs compared to White people. There is a corresponding lack of Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers in administrative/secretarial and technical occupations. Taking the data as a whole, an ethnic minority worker in Birmingham is twice as likely to be working in an elementary occupation compared to a White person. For more detail about what these different occupational groups mean, see this guide from the Office for National Statistics.


Unemployment: National comparisons are to England only. Data for age, gender, and ethnicity taken from Labour Force Survey, available here (xls, 15.11 kB).

Occupational segregation: data shows proportion of each ethnic group employed in each of the nine main occupational groups. Complete data is available here (xls, 13.89 kB) originally taken from Labour Force Survey.

Economic inequality: the Centre for Cities report can be downloaded here.