Number of workless households falls again, says ONS

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Media captionONS' Jamie Jenkins: "There are some stark differences across the country"

The number of households where no adult aged 16 to 64 is in work has fallen for the second year in a row, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there were 3.7 million such households in the UK between April and June this year, or about 17.9% of all households.

That was down from 18.7% last year, about 3.85 million households.

In total, five million people aged 16 to 64 live in workless households.

The number of children living in workless households also fell to 1.8 million from 1.84 million.

Workless households are defined as those which include at least one person of working age (16-64) where no one is in work.

The fall is largely down to a reduction in households where people are inactive and a rise in mixed households - those containing some people in work and some who are not.

The ONS data is derived from the quarterly Labour Force Survey, in which 53,000 households across the UK, containing more than 100,000 adults, are quizzed about their work or lack of it.

About 1.45 million, or a third, of workless people cited long-term sickness or disability as the main reason behind their inactivity.

The second most common reason given was being unemployed, accounting for 1.03 million people. After that, the next most common factors were looking after the family, retirement and study.

'Stark differences'

If fully retired and student households were removed, the number of households in the UK that were workless was 2.92 million, the ONS said.

The lowest percentage of workless households was in 2006, at the height of the global financial bubble, when the ratio stood at 17.3%.

However, there were sharp differences among regions as well as the financial profiles of households.

"There are some stark differences across the country. For example, in the north-east of the country, 24.5% of households are workless and in the south-east, just over 14%," the ONS's labour analyst Jamie Jenkins told the BBC.

In addition, just 4% of households that live in homes paid with mortgages were workless, compared with 45% of households living in social housing, he said.

At the same time, the ONS also issued statistics showing that people in the UK are now living in good health for longer.

Healthy life expectancy (HLE) increased by more than two years in the period 2008-10 compared with 2005-07.

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