Almost a third of households in Glasgow are out of work, according to latest figures.
For the ninth consecutive year since records began, the Scottish city and Liverpool have placed in the top five so-called workless areas of the UK.
Employment Minister Mark Hoban said, "Nationally, the number of workless households has fallen by more than 425,000 since the coalition took office. This is good news, but we know there are areas of the country where we need to do more.
The UK average for workless households was 18.1% for 2012.
Long-term and temporary sickness was the main reason given for not working by people aged 16-64 living in workless households.
A third of people in Northern Ireland in workless households cited sickness or disability, compared with one in four in England.
Hoban said helping people off benefits and into work was amongst this government's top priorities.
"By reforming the welfare system to ensure that people are better off in work than on benefits, and through schemes such as the Work Programme where support can be tailored to meet local need, we are helping people across the country to get a job and fulfil their aspirations of looking after themselves and their families."
Just over 30% of households in Glasgow were workless in the first quarter of last year, up from 28.7% the previous year, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Liverpool had the second highest percentage of workless households at 28.7%, down from having the highest in previous years.
The highest percentage of workless households in Wales was in the Central Valleys at 26.2%.
Other areas with the worst levels were Hull (27.6%), Birmingham (27.4%) and Wolverhampton (27.3%).
The ONS said the link between some areas with the highest percentages were that they were all heavily industrialised in the last century.
London had the highest percentage of people in workless households who were studying, while the South West and East of England had the highest percentage where retirement was given as the main reason for not working.
The lowest percentages last year were concentrated in the south of England, with 10.6% in Hampshire and around 11% in north Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, West Sussex and Surrey.