1. Headline figures

  • The level of employment in the UK showed a small fall of 0.1 per cent between September 2010 and September 2011

  • The number of full-time employees decreased by 118,000, while the number of part-time employees increased by 86,000

  • London had the largest growth in the number of employees, with an increase of 81,000. The South West had the largest fall in the number of employees, with a decrease of 41,000

  • Accommodation & food services was the industrial grouping with the largest growth in the number of employees, with an increase 58,000. Public administration had the largest fall in the number of employees, with a decrease of 124,000

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2. Summary

This bulletin contains annual employee and employment estimates for 2011 split by region and industry from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES).

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3. Results by region

The regions with the largest number of employees were London, with 4.3 million (15.7 per cent of UK employees), and the South East, with 3.8 million (13.8 per cent). Northern Ireland had the lowest number of employees, with 0.7 million (2.5 per cent of UK employees), followed by the North East, with 1 million (3.7 per cent), and Wales, with 1.2 million (4.3 per cent).

London had the largest proportion of full-time employees, at 73.5 per cent with all other regions less than 70 per cent. The South West had the largest percentage of part-time workers, at 37.3 per cent.

The region that showed the largest decrease in the number of employees between 2010 and 2011 was the South West, with a fall of 41,000 to 2.2 million. The largest contributor to this fall was the wholesale sector (23,000), followed by public administration (17,000).

The South East was the region with the next largest fall (32,000). The two industrial groupings contributing the most to this fall were construction (26,000) and public administration (20,000).

Five regions showed an increase in the number of employees between 2010 and 2011. The largest of these was London, with an increase of 81,000 employees.

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4. Sub-regional estimates

Westminster was the local authority county with the largest number of employees working there in September 2011, at 619,000. This was followed by Hampshire and Kent with 559,000 and 558,000 respectively. The lowest number of employees was in the Isles of Scilly, at 1,000.

There are 380 local authority districts in Great Britain. Of these, 167 districts showed an increase in the number of employees between 2010 and 2011, and 213 showed a decrease.

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5. Results by industry

In 2011 the health sector had the largest number of employees, with 3.6 million (13.4 per cent of the UK total). The agriculture, forestry & fishing sector had the smallest number of employees, with 212,000 (0.8 per cent of the whole economy).

The mining, quarrying and utilities industrial grouping had the largest proportion of full-time employees, with 92.2 per cent. The retail sector had the largest percentage of part-time employees, with 58.1 per cent.

The industrial grouping with the largest decrease in employees between 2010 and 2011 was public administration, which saw a fall of 124,000 employees. The wholesale sector had the next largest decrease in employees, with a fall of 28,000.

The industrial grouping with the largest increase between 2010 and 2011 was the accommodation and food services sector, which saw an increase of 58,000 employees.

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6. Public/private sector estimates

Definitive figures of public sector employment are available from the Public Sector Employment Survey. The employee figures from the Business Register and Employment Survey allow an analysis of public and private sector employees by detailed geography.

Northern Ireland was the region with the largest percentage of public sector employees, at 30.8 per cent. The South East of England had the lowest percentage of public sector employees, with 17.8 per cent.

The local authority district with the largest percentage of public sector employees was Shetland Isles, with 49.4 per cent. The district with the smallest proportion of public sector employees was the City of London, with 5.5 per cent.

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7.Background notes

  1. To support this release a set of tables providing greater geographical and industrial detail is available.

  2. The 2010 figures in this statistical bulletin have been adjusted to take account of a discontinuity introduced in the 2011 results caused by changes to the treatment of working owners. This adjustment has caused an increase in the number of employees and a decrease in the number in employment (employees + working owners). A more detailed analysis of the discontinuity can be found in the BRES guidance and methodology section. To allow users to understand the impact of the change in the way that working owners are categorised in the BRES results, ONS will be releasing a full set of 2010 revised BRES estimates that have been adjusted for the working owners discontinuity. These will be published before the end of 2012.

  3. Estimates presented in this release and associated published tables are rounded to prevent disclosure. Differences may exist in totals across tables due to rounding of estimates and disclosure methods used.

  4. For 2011, employee job numbers are estimated as at 14 September.

  5. Results for the county and district geography boundaries are as at the time the survey sample was selected (September 2011).

  6. BRES produces estimates of employees and employment (employees plus working proprietors). BRES therefore includes self-employed workers if they are registered for VAT or Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) schemes. Self-employed people not registered for these schemes along with HM Forces and government supported trainees, are excluded.

  7. Employee jobs are allocated to the area in which the workplace is located. Geographical figures relate to the area where employees work, which is not necessarily the same as where they live. Jobs at local hospitals, for example, may be situated in one local authority while the employees/people may reside in another.

  8. The public sector comprises central government, local government and public corporations. The private sector comprises companies, sole proprietors, partnerships and non-profit bodies

  9. An employee is defined as anyone aged 16 years or over who is paid directly from the payroll, in return for carrying out a full-time or part-time job or being on a training scheme. Employment includes employees plus the number of working owners who receive drawings or a share of the profits but are not paid via PAYE. Full-time is defined as working more than 30 hours per week with part-time defined as working 30 hours or less per week.

  10. Farm agriculture figures are provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland. These figures are not available for all small geographic areas, so for consistency they have not been included in estimates below region level. The figures have only been included at a two-digit SIC level and above. Where employment in farm agriculture has been included in estimates, it has been included within the private sector.

  11. Alternative employment estimates are available from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Workforce Jobs (WFJ). The BRES is the primary source for employee estimates at a detailed regional and industrial level. WFJ will benchmark the private sector employee component to the BRES private sector employee estimates on an annual basis. The WFJ series, which is compiled mainly from surveys of businesses, is the preferred source of statistics on jobs by industry, providing information also on the number of self employed. The LFS, which collects information mainly from residents of private households, is the preferred source of statistics on employment at the whole economy level. The concept of employment (measured by the LFS as the number of people working at least one hour during the survey reference week) differs from the concept of jobs, since a person can have more than one job, and some jobs may be shared by more than one person. The LFS can also be used to produce estimates of the total number of jobs in the UK, by adding together the headline employment figures (which are equivalent to main jobs) and those for workers with a second job.

  12. The public sector employee job figures from the BRES aggregated to regional or national level will not match those produced from the Public Sector Employment release, which is the recommended source for public sector employment figures. For example, in 2011 the BRES estimates that there were 5,900,000 employee jobs in the public sector in the UK. The public sector employment estimates for the UK in the comparable period (2010 Quarter 3) indicate that public sector employment was 6,054,000, a difference of 154,000. One difference is that public sector employment includes HM Forces, which account for 193,000 employees.

  13. In 2010, ONS announced the reclassification of most sixth form and further education colleges to the public sector. The majority of these reclassifications were included in the 2010 results, although a small number including those in Scotland, which were reclassified after the BRES reference date in September, remain in the private sector for that year. All of the sixth form and further education colleges are classified to the public sector in 2011. This difference in classification between the two years has the effect of slightly increasing the growth in public sector employees between 2010 and 2011, with a proportionally larger increase in Scotland.

  14. A further breakdown of the number of employees, by region and industry, is provided on the Nomis website. Employee estimates from the Business Register and Employment Survey can only be viewed on Nomis by applying for access, details of which can be found on the Nomis website.

  15. Figures are classified to the 2007 revision to the Standard Industrial Classification. BRES includes breakdowns by public and private sector according to the legal status of employees for National Accounts classification purposes.

  16. The coefficient of variation (cv) is a statistical measure of the precision of an estimate. Generally, the smaller the cv, the higher the quality of the estimate. The coefficients of variation at a regional level for the 2011 total employee estimates are shown in the table below:

  17. Quality Methodology Information (QMI) for BRES will be published on the National Statistics website before the end of November 2012.

  18. BRES is a sample survey. For the 2011 survey period, approximately 78,000 businesses were sampled. Further details of the sample design can be found in the BRES QMI to be published before the end of November 2012. The response rate for the 2011 BRES survey was 87 per cent.

  19. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Mark Williams
mark.williams@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456728