'Jobless' household figures soar
The number of households in which no one has ever had a job has almost doubled in the last 13 years, new figures have revealed.
Between 1997 and 2010, the number of homes whose occupants have never worked jumped from 184,000 to 352,000, according to a report by the Office For National Statistics (ONS).
This equates to 1.7% of all households, a rise from 1% in 1997.
According to the study, Inner London has the highest proportion of jobless homes in the UK, with 6.5% of households never completing a days work. The figure is three times more than the next highest area, Outer London, which has 2.2%.
Families in the East of England were found to have the lowest rates with 0.5% of households never having worked. They were followed by 0.8% in the South West and 0.9% in the South East.
The latest ONS Social Trends report, which analyses the UK labour market, also found that the employment rate for women has risen 13% in the last 40 years. It grew from 53% in the second quarter of 1971 to 66% in the first quarter of this year, slightly below the 2006 peak of 67%.
Male employment rates have dipped by 16% since 1971, where 92% of men were in work.
Currently 76% of the UK's male population is employed - just 1% above the all-time low of 75% recorded in the first quarter of last year.
Over the last 15 years there has also been a narrowing of the gap in employment rates for women with and without dependent children, according to the study.
The gap fell from 5.8% in the first quarter of 1996, to 0.8% in the final quarter of last year.