New census data reveals how the coronavirus pandemic affected employment and commuting in South Gloucestershire last year.

Jon Wroth-Smith, census deputy director, said the latest figures from the snapshot of England and Wales taken in March 2021 reflect the nation's labour market during a period of "unparalleled and rapid change".

Office for National Statistics data shows 62 per cent of residents aged 16 and older in South Gloucestershire were economically active and employed when the census took place last year – above England's overall rate of 57 per cent.

A further two per cent were economically active but in search of work.

Of the 35 per cent who were economically inactive, the highest proportion (63 per cent) did not work as they were retired.

The largest proportion of those working and aged 16 and older in South Gloucestershire were employed in construction and civil engineering (10 per cent), followed by retail trade (10 per cent).

About 70 per cent worked full-time for more than 30 hours a week, including nine per cent who worked 49 hours or more.

The figures also show how people travelled to work, with the highest proportion in South Gloucestershire stating they drive a car or van (49 per cent) followed by those who said they work mainly from home (35 per cent).

Talking about the statistics for England and Wales as a whole, Mr Wroth Smith said: "The data shows there was an increase in home working from 10 per cent in 2011 to 31 per cent in 2021 but, of course, the Government advised people to stay at home and only attend work if you had no alternative at that time."

He added that despite the removal of Covid travel restrictions, there is a "new normal" after the pandemic where hybrid and home workings remain commonplace.

"The truth is, the world is always changing and more timely data than a census provides is needed," he said.

Despite the significant shift to working from home, the most selected mode of travel to work across England and Wales was driving a car or a van – around 45 per cent of people selected this option last year.

And the largest number of employed residents aged 16 years and over worked within the broad wholesale, retail and motor trade industry – accounting for 15 per cent of those in employment.

Including paid and unpaid overtime, 70 per cent of respondents worked 31 hours or more a week including the 11 per cent who worked 49 hours or more.