MORE than one in 10 households in Worcestershire are out of work, according to national statistics – a rate slightly under the national average.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimate that last year there were around 23,000 workless households in the area.

According to the ONS, a household is defined as workless if every person aged from 16-64 in the house is not in employment at the time of the annual population survey.

In the West Midlands, 15 per cent of households were out of work – the same as the UK figure.

In the region, the most common reason people gave for not being in work was being sick or disabled – 29 per cent of out-of-work individuals cited illness or disability as the primary reason for not working.

Students made up 16 per cent of the group, and 14 per cent were early retirees.

Just 13 per cent of jobless people in the area were officially 'unemployed' – looking for work and able to start within two weeks.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: "The unemployment rate remains at its lowest since 1971, but we're committed to ensuring that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so, while making sure there is a safety net for those who can't."