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Statistical bulletin: Labour Market Statistics, April 2013 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 17 April 2013 Download PDF

For December 2012 to February 2013:

  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.4%, virtually unchanged from September to November 2012 but up 0.9 percentage points from a year earlier. There were 29.70 million people in employment aged 16 and over, down 2,000 from September to November 2012 but up 488,000 from a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 7.9% of the economically active population, up 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012 but down 0.3 from a year earlier. There were 2.56 million unemployed people, up 70,000 from September to November 2012 but down 71,000 from a year earlier.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.2% (the lowest since 1991), down 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012 and down 0.7 from a year earlier. There were 8.95 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 57,000 from September to November 2012 and down 285,000 from a year earlier.
  • Total pay rose by 0.8% compared with December 2011 to February 2012, the lowest growth rate since September to November 2009. Regular pay rose by 1.0 per cent over the same period, the lowest growth rate since records began in 2001.

In this Bulletin

This Statistical Bulletin contains the latest estimates for employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, claimant count, average earnings, labour productivity, vacancies and labour disputes. The estimates are used by a wide range of users, particularly across government and the media, to monitor developments in the labour market. All estimates discussed in this Statistical Bulletin are for the United Kingdom and are seasonally adjusted except where otherwise stated. Most of the figures discussed in this Statistical Bulletin are obtained from surveys of households or businesses and are therefore estimates, not precise figures. See the Seasonal Adjustment and Sampling Variability sections of this Bulletin for further details.

This Statistical Bulletin is accompanied by data tables in spreadsheet format.

There is an article on the website to help users interpret labour market statistics and highlight some common misunderstandings. A more detailed Guide to Labour Market Statistics is also available.

Regional estimates are available from the Regional Labour Market statistics release. Regional and local area labour market statistics are also available from the NOMIS website.

New this month:

  • Labour Force Survey and Average Weekly Earnings estimates for December 2012 to February 2013.

  • Claimant count estimates for March 2013.

  • Workforce jobs estimates for December 2012.

  • Vacancies estimates for January to March 2013.

  • Labour disputes estimates for February 2013.

In this Bulletin, there have been revisions to estimates of workforce jobs and vacancies back to the start of these series in 1959 and 2001 respectively. Claimant count estimates have been revised back to 2010. See Background Notes for further details.

Summary of labour market statistics published on 17 April 2013

A short video explaining this story is available. Further summary stories are available from the labour market statistics page on the National Statistics website.

For December 2012 to February 2013, compared with September to November 2012,

  • there was a rise in the number of unemployed people,

  • there was a fall in the number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, and

  • there was little change in the number of employed people.

The number of people in employment was little changed (down 2,000) between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013. There were 29.70 million people aged 16 and over in employment and the employment rate for people aged from 16 to 64 was 71.4% for December 2012 to February 2013.

The number of unemployed people rose by 70,000 between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013 and there were 2.56 million unemployed people. However there were 71,000 fewer unemployed people compared with a year earlier. The unemployment rate was 7.9% of the economically active population for December 2012 to February 2013. As shown in Chart 1, the unemployment rate is four percentage points lower than the peak of 11.9% seen in the mid-1980s.

Chart 1: Unemployment rate (aged 16+) since 1971, seasonally adjusted

Chart 1: Unemployment rate (aged 16+) since 1971, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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A key factor in the increase in unemployment is that the number of people actively engaging with the labour market is increasing. Between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013, the number of people aged from 16 to 64 who were not in the labour force (known as economically inactive) fell by 57,000 to reach 8.95 million. A large part of this decrease was for women who were economically inactive because they were looking after the family or home. The number of women in this category fell by 45,000 between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013 to reach 2.06 million, the lowest figure since comparable records began in 1993.

There has been a small fall of 7,000 in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) between February and March 2013. The number of people claiming JSA (1.53 million) is around a million lower than the number of unemployed people; many unemployed people are not eligible for or do not claim JSA.

Average weekly earnings excluding bonus payments rose by 1.0% comparing December 2012 to February 2013 with the same period a year earlier. This was the lowest growth rate since comparable records began in 2001. In February 2013 lower earnings growth was recorded across most sectors of the economy. In cash terms, average weekly earnings excluding bonus payments were £443 in February 2013, before taxes and other deductions from gross pay, up from £440 a year earlier. There continues to be a cut in the real value of pay, as inflation measured by the Consumer Prices Index was 2.8% between February 2012 and February 2013. The annual growth in weekly wages excluding bonuses has been continuously below price inflation since late 2009. Chart 2 shows the annual growth rates for weekly wages excluding bonuses and for price inflation since 2001.

Chart 2: Average earnings (exc. Bonuses) and consumer prices annual growth rates

Chart 2: Average earnings (exc. Bonuses) and consumer prices annual growth rates
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. This chart shows monthly estimates for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) from March 2001 to February 2013 and three month average estimates for Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) from January-March 2001 to December 2012-February 2013.
  2. The CPI series is for the United Kingdom and is compiled from prices data based on a large and representative selection of individual goods and services. The AWE series are for Great Britain and are sourced from the Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey.
  3. The AWE series are seasonally adjusted. The CPI series is not seasonally adjusted.

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Including bonus payments, the average weekly wage rose by 0.8% comparing December 2012 to February 2013 with the same period a year earlier. This was the lowest growth rate since September to November 2009. At £464 in February 2013, wages including bonus payments were virtually unchanged compared with February 2012.

Employment

Employment measures the number of people in paid work and differs from the number of jobs because some people have more than one job. A comparison between estimates of employment and jobs is available in an article published on the website. A short video explaining the basic labour market concepts of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity is available. Employment estimates are available at Tables 1 and 3 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables A02 (1.24 Mb Excel sheet) and EMP01 (1.26 Mb Excel sheet) .

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.4% for December 2012 to February 2013, virtually unchanged from September to November 2012 but up 0.9 percentage points from a year earlier. Chart 3 shows the employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the last five years.


Chart 3: Employment rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

Chart 3: Employment rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The employment rate for men aged from 16 to 64 was 76.3% for December 2012 to February 2013, down 0.3 percentage points from September to November 2012. The corresponding employment rate for women was 66.6%, up 0.3 percentage points from September to November 2012.

The number of people in employment was 29.70 million for December 2012 to February 2013, down 2,000 from September to November 2012 but up 488,000 on a year earlier. The number of people in full-time employment was 21.65 million for December 2012 to February 2013, up 60,000 from September to November 2012. The number of people in part-time employment was 8.05 million, down 62,000 from September to November 2012.

Between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013, as shown in Chart 4:

  • the number of employees increased by 22,000 to reach 25.24 million,

  • the number of self-employed people fell by 2,000 to reach 4.20 million,

  • the number of unpaid family workers fell by 9,000 to reach 102,000, and

  • the number of people on government supported training and employment programmes classified as being in employment (excluding those classified as employees and self-employed) fell by 14,000 to reach 151,000.

Chart 4: Changes in people in employment between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 4: Changes in people in employment between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Unpaid family workers are people who work in a family business who do not receive a formal wage or salary but benefit from the profits of that business.
  2. The Government supported training and employment programmes series does not include all people on these programmes; it only includes people engaging in any form of work, work experience or work-related training who are not included in the employees or self-employed series. People on these programmes NOT engaging in any form of work, work experience or work-related training are not included in the employment estimates; they are classified as unemployed or economically inactive.

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Public and private sector employment (first published on 20 March 2013)

Public sector employment measures the number of people in paid work in the public sector. The public sector comprises central government, local government and public corporations. Estimates of public sector employment are obtained from information provided by public sector organisations. Private sector employment is estimated as the difference between total employment, sourced from the Labour Force Survey, and public sector employment. Public and private sector employment estimates are available at Tables 4, 4(1) and 4(2) of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables EMP02 (70.5 Kb Excel sheet) , EMP03 (53 Kb Excel sheet) and EMP04 (46 Kb Excel sheet) .

The number of people employed in the public sector was 5.72 million in December 2012, down 20,000 from September 2012. The number of people employed in the private sector in December 2012 was 24.01 million, up 151,000 from September 2012.

Between December 2011 and December 2012, the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 313,000 and the number of people employed in the private sector increased by 904,000. These large annual movements reflect the reclassification of some educational bodies from the public sector to the private sector. See Background Notes to the September 2012 edition of this Statistical Bulletin for further details. As shown in Chart 5, excluding this reclassification, the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 117,000 between December 2011 and December 2012 and the number of people employed by the private sector increased by 708,000. Further information on public sector employment is available in the Public Sector Employment release published on 20 March 2013.

Chart 5: Changes in number of people employed in public and private sectors between December 2011 and December 2012, seasonally adjusted

Chart 5: Changes in number of people employed in public and private sectors between December 2011 and December 2012, seasonally adjusted
Source: Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey, Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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For December 2012 within the public sector, as shown in Chart 6:

  • 1.56 million people were employed in the National Health Service, up 7,000 from September 2012,

  • 1.08 million people were employed in public administration, up 1,000 from September 2012,

  • 1.47 million people were employed in education, down 16,000 from September 2012, and

  • 439,000 people were employed in HM Forces and the police, down 7,000 from September 2012.

Chart 6: Public sector employment by industry for December 2012, seasonally adjusted

Chart 6: Public sector employment by industry for December 2012, seasonally adjusted
Source: Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Employment by nationality and country of birth, not seasonally adjusted (first published on 20 March 2013)

ONS publishes estimates of employment by both nationality and by country of birth. The estimates relate to the number of people in employment rather than the number of jobs. These statistics have sometimes been incorrectly interpreted as indicating the proportion of new jobs that are taken by foreign migrants. Estimates of employment by nationality and country of birth are available at Tables 8 and 8(1) of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables EMP05 and EMP06 (193.5 Kb Excel sheet) . The UK and non-UK series do not sum to total employment as the total series includes people who did not state their country of birth or nationality. Estimates for October to December 2012 were first published on 20 February 2013 and were revised on 20 March 2013.

For October to December 2012, there were 29.82 million people in employment, of which 8.9% (2.64 million), were non-UK nationals. Compared to October to December 2011, there were 612,000 more people in employment in the UK, and 88.2% of this increase (540,000) was for people who were UK nationals. There was a 79,000 rise in employment for people who were non-UK nationals.

The number of people in employment who were foreign born is higher than those who were foreign nationals as some people born abroad are UK nationals. For October to December 2012, 4.32 million people in employment were born abroad, 1.67 million higher than the number of non-UK nationals in employment. Of the 612,000 rise in employment between October to December 2011 and October to December 2012, almost two thirds of this increase (397,000) was for people who were born in the UK. There was a 217,000 rise in employment for people born outside of the UK.

Chart 7: Employment by nationality and country of birth, changes between October to December 2011 and October to December 2012, not seasonally adjusted

Chart 7: Employment by nationality and country of birth, changes between October to December 2011 and October to December 2012, not seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Actual hours worked

Actual hours worked measures the number of hours worked in the economy. Hours worked estimates are available at Tables 7 and 7(1) of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables HOUR01 (460.5 Kb Excel sheet) and HOUR02 (1.55 Mb Excel sheet) .

Total hours worked per week were 948.4 million for December 2012 to February 2013, up 3.4 million from September to November 2012 and up 16.9 million on a year earlier. Chart 8 shows total hours worked for the last five years. Average weekly hours worked for December 2012 to February 2013 were 31.9, up 0.1 hours from September to November 2012 but unchanged from a year earlier.

Chart 8: Total weekly hours, seasonally adjusted

Chart 8: Total weekly hours, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Earnings

Earnings measures money paid to employees in return for work done, before tax and other deductions from pay. The estimates are in current prices; this means that they are not adjusted for price inflation. The estimates relate to Great Britain and include salaries but not unearned income, benefits in kind or arrears of pay. As well as pay settlements, the estimates reflect bonuses, changes in the number of paid hours worked and the impact of employees paid at different rates joining and leaving individual businesses. The estimates also reflect changes in the overall structure of the workforce; for example, fewer low paid jobs in the economy would have an upward effect on the earnings growth rate. Average Weekly Earnings estimates are available at Tables 15, 15(1) and 16 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables EARN01 (458.5 Kb Excel sheet) , EARN02 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) and EARN03 (555 Kb Excel sheet) .

In February 2013:

  • Average total pay (including bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £464 per week.

  • Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £443 per week.

Between December 2011 to February 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013:

  • Total pay for employees in Great Britain rose by 0.8%.

  • Regular pay for employees in Great Britain rose by 1.0%.

Between February 2012 and February 2013, the Consumer Prices Index increased by 2.8%. Prices therefore increased by more than earnings. Chart 9 shows annual growth rates for earnings and prices for the last five years.

Chart 9: Average earnings and consumer prices annual growth rates

Chart 9: Average earnings and consumer prices annual growth rates
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. This chart shows monthly estimates for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) from February 2008 to February 2013 and three month average estimates for Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) from December 2007-February 2008 to December 2012-February 2013.
  2. The CPI series is for the United Kingdom and is compiled from prices data based on a large and representative selection of individual goods and services. The AWE series are for Great Britain and are sourced from the Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey.
  3. The AWE series are seasonally adjusted. The CPI series is not seasonally adjusted.

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Between December 2011 to February 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013:

• Total pay in the private sector rose by 0.5%, while regular pay rose by 1.0%.

• Total pay in the public sector rose by 1.7%, while regular pay rose by 1.6%.

• Total pay in the public sector excluding financial services rose by 1.8%, while regular pay rose by 1.7%.

The public and private sector growth rates from June 2012 have been affected by the reclassification of English Further Education Corporations and Sixth Form College Corporations. From June 2012 onwards these educational bodies are classified to the private sector, but for earlier time periods they are classified to the public sector. ONS estimates that, if the reclassification had not occurred, the public sector single month growth rates from June 2012 onwards would be between 0.6 and 0.8 percentage points lower and the corresponding private sector growth rates would be between 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points higher. Further information regarding this reclassification is available in an article published on the website on 31 May 2012.

Labour productivity (first published on 28 March 2013)

Labour productivity measures the amount of real (inflation adjusted) economic output that is produced by a unit of labour input (in terms of workers, jobs and hours worked). Labour productivity estimates are available at Table 17 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table PROD01 (75.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Whole economy output per worker fell by 0.8% between the third and fourth quarters of 2012. Whole economy unit labour costs increased by 0.5% between these quarters. Chart 10 shows percentage changes on quarter for output per worker and unit labour costs for the last five years. Further information is available in the Labour Productivity Statistical Bulletin published on 28 March 2013.

Chart 10: Output per worker and unit labour costs, percentage changes on quarter (seasonally adjusted)

Chart 10: Output per worker and unit labour costs, percentage changes on quarter (seasonally adjusted)
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Labour disputes (not seasonally adjusted)

These estimates measure disputes (that is, strikes) connected with terms and conditions of employment. Labour disputes estimates are available at Table 20 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table LABD01 (109 Kb Excel sheet) .

In February 2013, there were 2,000 working days lost from nine stoppages. In the twelve months to February 2013, there were 231,000 working days lost from 129 stoppages. Chart 11 shows cumulative twelve month totals for working days lost for the last five years.

 

Chart 11: Working days lost cumulative 12 months totals, not seasonally adjusted

Chart 11: Working days lost cumulative 12 months totals, not seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Disputes Statistics - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. The cumulative 12 month totals from November 2011 to October 2012 were affected by a one day strike on 30 November 2011 called by several trade unions in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pension schemes for some public sector workers.
  2. There was a further one day strike on 30 May 2012 in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pension schemes for some public sector workers.

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Unemployment

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. A short video explaining the basic labour market concepts of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity is available. Unemployment estimates are available at Table 9 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table UNEM01 (2.02 Mb Excel sheet)

The unemployment rate was 7.9% for December 2012 to February 2013, up 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012 but down 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier. Chart 12 shows the unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over for the last five years. Unemployment rates are calculated, in accordance with international guidelines, as the number of unemployed people divided by the economically active population (those in employment plus those who are unemployed).

Chart 12: Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted

Chart 12: Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The number of unemployed people was 2.56 million for December 2012 to February 2013, up 70,000 from September to November 2012 but down 71,000 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed men was 1.44 million for December 2012 to February 2013, up 37,000 from September to November 2012. The number of unemployed women was 1.12 million for December 2012 to February 2013, up 33,000 from September to November 2012.

For December 2012 to February 2013, as shown in Chart 13:

  • 1.21 million people had been unemployed for up to six months, up 32,000 from September to November 2012;

  • 454,000 people had been unemployed for between six and twelve months, up 30,000 from September to November 2012;

  • 900,000 people had been unemployed for over one year, up 8,000 from September to November 2012; and

  • 463,000 people had been unemployed for over two years, up 28,000 from September to November 2012.

 

Chart 13: Unemployment by duration for December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 13: Unemployment by duration for December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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International comparisons of unemployment rates are available at Table 19 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table A10 (273 Kb Excel sheet) . The unemployment rate for the European Union (EU) was 10.9% of the economically active population for February 2013. The EU country with the highest unemployment rate was Greece, at 26.4% (for December 2012), and the EU country with the lowest unemployment rate was Austria, at 4.8% (for February 2013). These EU unemployment rates were published in a Eurostat News Release on 2 April 2013. The unemployment rate for Japan was 4.3% for February 2013. The unemployment rate for the United States was 7.7% for February 2013 and 7.6% for March 2013. Chart 14 shows the unemployment rates for the UK, the EU and the United States for the last five years.

Chart 14: Unemployment rates for the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, seasonally adjusted

Chart 14: Unemployment rates for the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics, Eurostat

Notes:

  1. The unemployment rates for the UK and the United States are for those aged 16 and over. The unemployment rate for the EU is for those aged from 15 to 74.
  2. This chart shows monthly estimates for the EU and for the United States from February 2008 to February 2013 and three month average estimates for the UK from December 2007-February 2008 to December 2012-February 2013.

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Young people in the labour market

Estimates for young people in the labour market are available at Table 14 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table A06 (2.15 Mb Excel sheet) .

For December 2012 to February 2013:

  • There were 3.66 million 16 to 24 year olds in employment, down 62,000 from September to November 2012.

  • There were 2.60 million economically inactive 16 to 24 year olds (73% of whom were in full-time education), up 28,000 from September to November 2012.

  • There were 979,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds, up 20,000 from September to November 2012.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 21.1% for December 2012 to February 2013, up 0.6 percentage points from September to November 2012. In accordance with international guidelines, unemployment rates are calculated as the number of unemployed people divided by the economically active population (those in employment plus those who are unemployed). Increasing numbers of young people going into full-time education reduces the size of the economically active population and therefore increases the unemployment rate.

In accordance with international guidelines, people in full-time education (FTE) are included in the youth unemployment estimates if they have been looking for work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. Excluding people in FTE, there were 670,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds for December 2012 to February 2013, up 36,000 from September to November 2012. The corresponding unemployment rate was 19.1% of the economically active population for 16 to 24 year olds not in FTE, up 1.1 percentage points from September to November 2012.

Chart 15: Young people (aged 16 to 24) in the labour market for December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 15: Young people (aged 16 to 24) in the labour market for December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. FTE = Full-time education.
  2. The “Not in Full-time education” series include people in part-time education and/or some form of training.

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Claimant count

The claimant count measures the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and differs from unemployment (which measures people who are out of work, have been looking for work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks). Claimant count estimates are available at Tables 10, 10(1) and 11 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables CLA01 (297.5 Kb Excel sheet) , CLA02 (462 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA03 (64.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

The claimant count for March 2013 was 1.53 million, down 7,000 from February 2013 and down 77,500 from a year earlier. Chart 16 shows the claimant count for the last five years. The claimant count rate for March 2013 was 4.6%, unchanged from February 2013 but down 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier.

Chart 16: Claimant count, seasonally adjusted

Chart 16: Claimant count, seasonally adjusted
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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Chart 17 shows that for March 2013, excluding a small number of clerically processed claims for which an age breakdown is not available, there were:

  • 410,800 people aged from 18 to 24 claiming JSA, down 2,800 from February 2013,

  • 860,800 people aged from 25 to 49 claiming JSA, down 4,400 from February 2013, and

  • 256,500 people aged 50 and over claiming JSA, up 900 from February 2013.

    Chart 17: JSA claimants (excluding clerical claims) by age and sex for March 2013, seasonally adjusted

    Chart 17: JSA claimants (excluding clerical claims) by age and sex for March 2013, seasonally adjusted
    Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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The claimant count can be affected by changes to the overall benefits system. For example, since 24 November 2008 several changes to the eligibility rules for Lone Parent Income Support (LPIS) have resulted in fewer lone parents (predominantly women) being able to claim that benefit resulting in more lone parents claiming JSA while they look for work. This has affected the claimant count since December 2008. Since December 2012 these changes to the eligibility rules for LPIS seem to be no longer significantly affecting the claimant count. These estimates of lone parents claiming JSA are available at Table 10(1) of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table CLA03 (64.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Another change to the benefits system which has affected the claimant count since April 2011 has been a re-assessment, by the Department for Work and Pensions, of claimants of Incapacity Benefit (IB) resulting in some people who have been declared ineligible for IB claiming JSA while they look for work. The effect of this exercise on monthly changes in the claimant count is likely to be small.

The claimant count for people claiming benefits for longer durations has also been affected by the introduction of the Work Programme in June 2011.  Previous employment initiatives saw a break in individual's JSA claims, leading to an individual having a succession of shorter duration claims. Under the Work Programme individuals are more likely to remain on JSA for a single unbroken duration.

Comparison between unemployment and the claimant count

Unemployment is measured according to international guidelines specified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Unemployed people in the UK are:

  • without a job, have actively sought work in the last four weeks and are available to start work in the next two weeks, or;

  • out of work, have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next two weeks.

People who meet these criteria are classified as unemployed irrespective of whether or not they claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or other benefits. The estimates are derived from the Labour Force Survey and are published for three month average time periods.

The claimant count measures the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits; since October 1996 this has been the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). Some JSA claimants will not be classified as unemployed. For example, people in employment working fewer than 16 hours a week can be eligible to claim JSA depending on their income.

Chart 18 and the associated spreadsheet compare quarterly movements in unemployment and the claimant count for the same three month average time periods. The unemployment estimates shown in this comparison exclude unemployed people in the 16 to 17 and 65 and over age groups as well as unemployed people aged from 18 to 24 in full-time education. This provides a more meaningful comparison with the claimant count than total unemployment because people in these population groups are not usually eligible to claim JSA.

When three month average estimates for the claimant count are compared with unemployment estimates for the same time periods and for the same population groups (people aged from 18 to 64 excluding 18 to 24 year olds in full-time education), unemployment increased by 90,000 and the claimant count fell by 24,000, between September to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013.

Chart 18: Quarterly changes in unemployment and the claimant count (aged 18 to 64), seasonally adjusted

Chart 18: Quarterly changes in unemployment and the claimant count (aged 18 to 64), seasonally adjusted
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

Notes:

  1. Unemployment estimates are sourced from the Labour Force Survey (a survey of households). The unemployment figures in this chart, and the associated spreadsheet, exclude unemployed people aged from 18 to 24 in full-time education.
  2. Claimant count estimates are sourced from administrative data from Jobcentre Plus (part of the Department for Work and Pensions).

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Economic inactivity

Economically inactive people are not in employment but do not meet the internationally accepted definition of unemployment because they have not been seeking work within the last four weeks and/or they are unable to start work within the next two weeks. A short video explaining the basic labour market concepts of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity is available. Economic inactivity estimates are available at Tables 1 and 13 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables A02 (1.24 Mb Excel sheet) and INAC01 (2.43 Mb Excel sheet) .

The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.2% for December 2012 to February 2013, down 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012 and down 0.7 from a year earlier. Chart 19 shows the economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the last five years. There were 8.95 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 for December 2012 to February 2013, down 57,000 from September to November 2012 and down 285,000 from a year earlier.

Chart 19: Economic inactivity rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

Chart 19: Economic inactivity rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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For December 2012 to February 2013, as shown in Chart 20:

  • There were 2.24 million economically inactive students aged from 16 to 64, up 21,000 from September to November 2012 but down 28,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 2.02 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive due to long-term sickness, down 18,000 from September to November 2012 and down 101,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.37 million economically inactive people who had retired before reaching the age of 65, down 43,000 from September to November 2012 and down 109,000 from a year earlier.

The fall in the number of economically inactive people who had retired before reaching the age of 65 reflects changes to the state pension age for women. The age at which women reach state pension age has been gradually increasing from 60 since April 2010, resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65.

Chart 20: Economic inactivity by reason (aged 16 to 64) for December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 20: Economic inactivity by reason (aged 16 to 64) for December 2012 to February 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Redundancies

The redundancies estimates measure the number of people who have been made redundant or have taken voluntary redundancy. Redundancies estimates are available at Tables 23 and 24 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables RED01 (189.5 Kb Excel sheet) and RED02 (2.4 Mb Excel sheet) .

For December 2012 to February 2013, 137,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, down 21,000 from September to November 2012 and down 37,000 from a year earlier. Chart 21 shows the number of people made redundant for the last five years. The redundancy rate was 5.4 per 1,000 employees, down 0.9 from September to November 2012 and down 1.6 from a year earlier.

Chart 21: Redundancies, seasonally adjusted

Chart 21: Redundancies, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Jobs

Workforce jobs measures the number of filled jobs in the economy. It differs from the number of people in employment as some people have more than one job. A comparison between estimates of employment and jobs is available in an article published on the website. Jobs estimates are available at Tables 5 and 6 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables JOBS01 (51.5 Kb Excel sheet) and JOBS02 (191.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

There were 32.10 million workforce jobs in December 2012, up 4,000 from September 2012 and up 406,000 on a year earlier. As shown in Chart 22, the sector showing the largest increase in jobs between December 2011 and December 2012 was professional, scientific and technical activities which increased by 134,000 to reach 2.57 million. The sector showing the largest fall in jobs over this period was construction which fell by 70,000 to reach 1.99 million.

Chart 22: Workforce jobs changes between December 2011 and December 2012, seasonally adjusted

Chart 22: Workforce jobs changes between December 2011 and December 2012, seasonally adjusted
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Vacancies

Vacancies are defined as positions for which employers are actively seeking to recruit outside their business or organisation. Vacancies estimates are available at Tables 21, 21(1) and 22 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables VACS01 (48.5 Kb Excel sheet) , VACS02 (226 Kb Excel sheet) and VACS03 (72 Kb Excel sheet) .

There were 495,000 job vacancies for January to March 2013, up 1,000 from October to December 2012 and up 34,000 on a year earlier. Chart 23 shows the number of vacancies for the last five years. There were 1.8 vacancies per 100 employee jobs for January to March 2013, unchanged from October to December 2012 but up 0.1 percentage point on a year earlier.

Chart 23: Vacancies, seasonally adjusted

Chart 23: Vacancies, seasonally adjusted
Source: Vacancy Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Data tables

The Index of Data Tables lists, and briefly describes, all of the regularly published labour market spreadsheets and includes hyperlinks from which the spreadsheets can be accessed.

The pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin includes summary data tables. A list of these tables, and the corresponding EXCEL spreadsheets, is available;

• in html format, and
• in pdf format from the “Index of Tables” page in the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin.

Revisions

Estimates for the most recent time periods are subject to revision due to the receipt of late and corrected responses to business surveys and revisions to seasonal adjustment factors which are re-estimated every month. Estimates are subject to longer run revisions, on an annual basis, resulting from reviews of the seasonal adjustment process. Estimates derived from the Labour Force Survey (a survey of households) are usually only revised once a year. Further information is available in the Labour Market Statistics Revisions Policy (36.7 Kb Pdf) .

One indication of the reliability of the key indicators in this Statistical Bulletin can be obtained by monitoring the size of revisions.  Data tables EMP17 (685.5 Kb Excel sheet) , UNEM04 (1.63 Mb Excel sheet) , JOBS06 (345.5 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA04 (1.59 Mb Excel sheet) record the size and pattern of revisions over the last five years. These indicators only report summary measures for revisions. The revised data itself may be subject to sampling or other sources of error. The ONS standard presentation is to show five years worth of revisions (60 observations for a monthly series, 20 for a quarterly series).

Seasonal adjustment

Like many economic indicators, the labour market is affected by factors that tend to occur at around the same time every year; for example school leavers entering the labour market in July and whether Easter falls in March or April. In order to compare movements other than annual changes in labour market statistics, such as since the previous quarter or since the previous month, the data are seasonally adjusted to remove the effects of seasonal factors and the arrangement of the calendar. All estimates discussed in this Statistical Bulletin are seasonally adjusted except where otherwise stated.

Sampling variability

Sampling variability information, calculated on not seasonally adjusted data, is available for the key indicators published in this release.  These sampling variability ranges represent '95% confidence intervals'. If a large number of samples were taken, and a 95% confidence interval was calculated for each sample, it is expected that in 95% of samples the range would contain the true value.

Data table A11 (51.5 Kb Excel sheet) shows sampling variabilities for estimates derived from the Labour Force Survey.

Data table JOBS07 (44.5 Kb Excel sheet) shows sampling variabilities for estimates of workforce jobs.

The sampling variability of the three month average vacancies level is around +/- 1.5% of that level.

The sampling variabilities of the whole economy single month Average Weekly Earnings growth rates are as follows:

+/- 0.5 percentage points excluding bonuses,
+/- 0.6 percentage points including bonuses (April to November), and
+/- 0.9 percentage points including bonuses (December to March).

More detailed sampling variability information for Average Weekly Earnings are available from the “Sampling Variability” worksheets within data tables EARN01 (458.5 Kb Excel sheet) and EARN03 (555 Kb Excel sheet) .

Other quality information

Quality and Methodology Information papers for labour market statistics are available on the website. Further information about the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is available from:

Background notes

  1. This month’s release
    Estimates of workforce jobs for December 2012 were originally scheduled for publication in last month’s release. The publication of these estimates was postponed until this month’s release due to operational difficulties which resulted in a need for further quality assurance. A number of improvements have been made to the workforce jobs estimates, as announced in the Background Notes to the February 2013 edition of this Statistical Bulletin. An article providing further details (239.6 Kb Pdf) is available on the National Statistics website.

    There have been revisions to the seasonally adjusted claimant count estimates back to January 2010 following the latest annual review of the seasonal adjustment process. The denominators used to calculate national and regional claimant count rates have been routinely updated and revised taking on board revisions to Workforce Jobs estimates. Rates from January 2012 are based on mid-2012 denominators.

    There have been revisions to estimates of vacancies back to the start of the series in 2001 due to taking on board late information from contributors to the Vacancy Survey and revisions to estimates of employee jobs. 

  2. Next month’s release
    In next month’s release, the tables showing estimates of employment by nationality and country of birth will be improved to provide more detailed information. Additional series will be introduced showing employment estimates (for both nationality and country of birth) for “Total EU”, “Total non-EU”, “Romania and Bulgaria” and “Rest of the World”. 

  3. Introduction of new release for People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs)
    On Thursday 23 May 2013, ONS will publish the first edition of a new release showing estimates of people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs). This release will, for the first time, provide estimates of NEETs for the United Kingdom broken down by those who are unemployed and those who are economically inactive. This release will be published by ONS four times a year in February, May, August and November around one week after publication of the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin. It will be available from the labour market statistics page on the National Statistics website. Further information about this new release will be available in an article to be published on 15 May 2013 to coincide with the next edition of this Statistical Bulletin. 

  4. Special Events
    ONS has published commentary, analysis and policy on "Special Events" which may affect statistical outputs. For full details go to the  Special Events page on the ONS website .

  5. Publication policy
    Publication dates up to the end of 2013 are available in the Background Notes to the June 2012 edition of this Statistical Bulletin. A list of the job titles of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this Statistical Bulletin is available on the website.

  6. 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

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;
    • are well explained and readily accessible;
    • are produced according to sound methods; and
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Richard Clegg +44 (0)1633 455400 Labour Market Statistics Briefing labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Nick Palmer +44 (0)1633 455839 Labour Force Survey nicholas.palmer@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Bob Watson +44 (0)1633 455070 Claimant Count and Benefits bob.watson@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Emily Carless +44 (0)1633 455717 Workforce Jobs, Public Sector Employment and Vacancies emily.carless@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Eric Crane +44 (0)1633 455092 Average Weekly Earnings eric.crane@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Mark Franklin +44 (0)1633 455981 Labour Productivity mark.franklin@ons.gsi.gov.uk
James Scruton +44 (0)1633 456724 Labour Disputes james.scruton@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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