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Statistical bulletin: Labour Market Statistics, December 2011 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 14 December 2011 Download PDF

For August to October 2011:

  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.3 per cent, down 0.2 on the quarter.
  • There were 29.11 million people in employment aged 16 and over, down 63,000 on the quarter. The number of people employed in the public sector fell by 67,000 on the quarter to reach 5.99 million. The number of people employed in the private sector rose by 5,000 on the quarter to reach 23.12 million.
  • The unemployment rate was 8.3 per cent of the economically active population, up 0.4 on the quarter. There were 2.64 million unemployed people, up 128,000 on the quarter. The unemployment rate is the highest since 1996 and the number of unemployed people is the highest since 1994.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 23.2 per cent, down 0.1 on the quarter. There were 9.33 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 54,000 on the quarter.
  • Total pay (including bonuses) rose by 2.0 per cent on a year earlier, down 0.3 on the three months to September 2011(with both the private and public sectors showing lower pay growth).
  • Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.8 per cent on a year earlier, up 0.1 on the three months to September 2011.

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. All estimates discussed in this Statistical Bulletin are seasonally adjusted except where otherwise stated.

Regional estimates are available from the Regional Labour Market Statistical Bulletin.

New this month:
Labour Force Survey and Average Weekly Earnings estimates for August to October 2011.
Workforce Jobs and Public Sector Employment for September 2011.
Claimant count estimates for November 2011.
Vacancies estimates for September to November 2011.
Labour disputes estimates for October 2011.

Summary of labour market statistics published on 14 December 2011

A video explaining this story is available on the ONS YouTube channel.

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to October 2011 was 70.3 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter. The number of people in employment aged 16 and over fell by 63,000 on the quarter and by 14,000 on the year to reach 29.11 million. The number of employees fell by 252,000 over the quarter to reach 24.77 million. The number of self-employed people increased by 166,000 on the quarter to reach 4.14 million. This is the highest number of self-employed people since comparable records began in 1992. The number of people in other categories of employment increased by 23,000 over the quarter to reach 201,000.

The number of people employed in the public sector fell by 67,000 between June and September 2011 to reach 5.99 million, the lowest figure since September 2003. The number of people employed in the private sector increased by 5,000 on the quarter to reach 23.12 million.

The unemployment rate for the three months to October 2011 was 8.3 per cent of the economically active population, up 0.4 on the quarter. The last time the unemployment rate was higher was in the three months to January 1996. The total number of unemployed people increased by 128,000 over the quarter to reach 2.64 million. The number of unemployed people has not been higher since the three months to September 1994. The unemployment rate for people aged from 16 to 24 increased by 1.2 percentage points over the quarter to reach 22.0 per cent of the economically active population for that age group. The number of unemployed people aged from 16 to 24 increased by 54,000 over the quarter to reach 1.03 million; this figure includes 297,000 people in full-time education who were looking for part-time work. The unemployment level and rate for people aged from 16 to 24 are the highest since directly comparable records began in 1992. However earlier data, calculated on a slightly different basis, indicates that the level of youth unemployment was higher in the mid-1980s.

The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to October 2011 was 23.2 per cent, down 0.1 on the quarter.  The number of economically inactive pe ople aged from 16 to 64 fell by 54,000 over the quarter to reach 9.33 million. This quarterly fall in economic inactivity mainly occurred among women. The inactivity rate for women aged from 16 to 64 fell by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter to reach 29.1 per cent, the lowest figure since comparable records began in 1971.

There were 1.60 million people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in November 2011, up 3,000 on October. The number of people claiming JSA for up to six months fell by 14,000 between October and November to reach 946,800.

The whole economy earnings annual growth rate for total pay (including bonuses) fell by 0.3 percentage points between the three months to September 2011 and the three months to October to reach 2.0 per cent. The annual growth rate for the private sector fell from 2.4 per cent to 2.1 per cent and the public sector growth rate fell from 2.3 per cent to 2.1 per cent.

The whole economy earnings annual growth rate for regular p ay (excluding bonuses) increased by 0.1 percentage point to reach 1.8 per cent in the three months to October 2011.

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. The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.3 per cent in the three months to October 2011, down 0.2 percentage points on the three months to July 2011 and down 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier.

Employment rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

Employment rate
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The employment rate for men aged from 16 to 64 was 75.2 per cent, down 0.3 percentage points on the previous quarter. The corresponding employment rate for women was 65.5 per cent, virtually unchanged on the previous quarter.

The number of people in employment was 29.11 million in the three months to October 2011, down 63,000 from the three months to July 2011 and down 14,000 on a year earlier. The number of people in full-time employment was 21.28 million in the three months to October 2011, down 55,000 from the three months to July 2011. Of this total, 13.60 million were men and 7.69 million were women. The number of people in part-time employment was 7.82 million in the three months to October 2011, down 8,000 from the three months to July 2011. Of this total, 1.98 million were men and 5.84 million were women.

The number of people in public sector employment was 5.99 million in September 2011, down 67,000 from June 2011. The number of people in private sector employment in September 2011 was 23.12 million, up 5,000 from June 2011. Further information on public sector employment is available in the Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletin.

Employment by country of birth and nationality (not seasonally adjusted)

ONS publishes estimates of employment by both country of birth and by nationality. The number of  non-UK born people in employment is greater than the number of non-UK nationals in employment, as the non-UK born series includes many UK nationals. 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.

The number of UK nationals in employment was 26.60 million in the three months to September 2011, down 280,000 on a year earlier. The number of non-UK nationals in employment was 2.56 million, up 147,000 from a year earlier.
 
The employment rate for UK nationals aged from 16 to 64 was 70.7 per cent in the three months to September 2011, down 0.6 percentage points on a year earlier. The corresponding employment rate for non-UK nationals was 68.3 per cent, unchanged on a year earlier.

The number of UK born people in employment was 25.08 million in the three months to September 2011, down 311,000 on a year earlier. The number of non-UK born people in employment was 4.08 million, up 181,000 from a year earlier.
 
The employment rate for UK born people aged from 16 to 64 was 71.1 per cent in the three months to September 2011, down 0.5 percentage points on a year earlier. The corresponding employment rate for non-UK born people was 67.3 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points on a year earlier.

Employment by country of birth and nationality, changes on year (not seasonally adjusted)

Employment rate by COB
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. Total hours worked per week were 918.0 million in the three months to October 2011, up 3.8 million from the three months to July 2011. Average weekly hours worked in the three months to October 2011 were 31.6, up 0.2 from the three months to July 2011.

Total weekly hours, seasonally adjusted

Total weekly hours
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Earnings

Earnings measures the money received in return for work done, gross of tax. The estimates relate to Great Britain and include salaries but not unearned income, benefits in kind or arrears of pay. Average total pay (including bonuses) was £464 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 total pay rose by 2.0 per cent on a year earlier, down 0.3 from the three months to September. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) was £438 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 regular pay rose by 1.8 per cent on a year earlier, up 0.1 from the three months to September.

GB whole economy average earnings annual growth rates, seasonally adjusted

Earnings
Source: Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Average total pay (including bonuses) in the private sector was £461 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 total pay in the private sector rose by 2.1 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the private sector was £427 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 regular pay in the private sector rose by 1.8 per cent on a year earlier.

Average total pay (including bonuses) in the public sector was £478 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 total pay in the public sector rose by 2.1 per cent on a year earlier. Average total pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, was £468 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 total pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, rose by 1.7 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the public sector was £474 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 regular pay in the public sector rose by 2.1 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, was £466 per week in October 2011. In the three months to October 2011 regular pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, rose by 1.8 per cent on a year earlier.

Labour productivity

Whole economy output per worker is the ratio of output and employment while unit labour costs is the ratio of total labour costs to output. Whole economy output per worker was unchanged between the first and second quarters of 2011. Whole economy unit labour costs increased by 0.3 per cent between the first two quarters of 2011. Further information is available in the Labour Productivity Statistical Bulletin.

Output per worker and unit labour costs, percentage change on quarter (seasonally adjusted)

Productivity
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Labour disputes (not seasonally adjusted)

Labour disputes measures disputes (ie, strikes) connected with terms and conditions of employment. In October 2011, there were 11,000 working days lost from thirteen stoppages. In the twelve months to October 2011, there were 417,000 working days lost from 135 stoppages.

Working days lost cumulative 12 month totals, not seasonally adjusted

Labour disputes
Source: Labour Disputes Statistics - Office for National Statistics

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Unemployment

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work and are available to start work if a job is offered. The unemployment rate was 8.3 per cent in the three months to October 2011, up 0.4 percentage points from the three months to July 2011 and from a year earlier. Unemployment rates are calculated, in accordance with international guidelines, as the percentage of all economically active people in the relevant population group.

Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted

Unemployment rate
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The number of unemployed people was 2.64 million in the three months to October 2011, up 128,000 from the three months to July 2011 and up 139,000 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed men was 1.53 million in the three months to October 2011, up 83,000 from the three months to July 2011. The number of unemployed women was 1.10 million in the three months to October 2011, up 45,000 from the three months to July 2011. The number of people unemployed for over one year was 868,000 in the three months to October 2011, up 19,000 from the three months to July 2011.  The number of people unemployed for over two years was 430,000 in the three months to October 2011, up 15,000 from the three months to July 2011.

Youth unemployment

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 22.0 per cent of the economically active population for that age group in the three months to October 2011, up 1.2 percentage points from the three months to July 2011. There were 1.03 million unemployed 16 to 24 year olds in the three months to October 2011, up 54,000 from the three months to July 2011.

The number of unemployed 16 to 17 year olds increased by 8,000 on the quarter to reach 211,000 and the number of unemployed 18 to 24 year olds rose by 46,000 on the quarter to reach 815,000.

In accordance with international guidelines, people in full-time education 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 full-time education, there were 730,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds in the three months to October 2011, up 21,000 from the three months to July 2011. The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds not in full-time education was 20.7 per cent of the economically active population, up 0.8 percentage points from the three months to July 2011.

Youth unemployment (aged 16 to 24) August to October 2011, seasonally adjusted

Youth unemployment
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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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 meet the internationally agreed definition of unemployment). The claimant count can be affected by changes to the overall benefits system. For example, from late 2008 until mid-2011 changes in eligibility rules for Lone Parent Income Support 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. From April 2011, the Dept. for Work and Pensions has been re-assessing 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 the claimant count so far is likely to have been small.

The claimant count in November 2011 was 1.60 million, up 3,000 on the previous month and up 138,600 on a year earlier. The claimant count rate was 5.0 per cent, unchanged on the previous month but up 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier.

Claimant count, seasonally adjusted

Claimant count
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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Comparison between unemployment and the claimant count

Unemployment is measured using the Labour Force Survey and estimates are published for three month average rolling time periods. 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 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 less than 16 hours a week can be eligible to claim JSA depending on their income.

The chart below and the associated spreadsheet compare movements in unemployment and the claimant count for the same three-monthly 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 unemployment and the claimant count are compared for the same time periods (three-monthly averages) and for the same age groups (people aged from 18 to 64), the movements in the two series over the latest quarter are fairly close. For this age group, between May-July and August-October 2011, unemployment increased by 96,000 and the claimant count increased by 62,000. The chart below, and the associated spreadsheet, compares quarterly changes in unemployment and the claimant count for people aged from 18 to 64 for the last two years.

Quarterly changes in unemployment and the claimant count for those aged from 18 to 64 (seasonally adjusted)

Quarterly changes in unemployment and the claimant count
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 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 Dept. 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 and/or they are unable to start work. The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 23.2 per cent in the three months to October 2011, down 0.1 percentage point on the three months to July 2011 but unchanged from a year earlier. The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 54,000 over the quarter but rose by 37,000 over the year, to reach 9.33 million in the three months to October 2011.

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

Economic inactivity rate
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Redundancies

Redundancies measures the number of people who have been made redundant or have taken voluntary redundancy. In the three months to October 2011, 161,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, down 1,000 from the three months to July 2011 but up 2,000 from a year earlier. The redundancy rate was 6.5 per 1,000 employees, unchanged on the previous quarter but up 0.1 percentage point on a year earlier.

Redundancies, seasonally adjusted

Redundancies
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. There were 31.27 million workforce jobs in September 2011, up 150,000 over the quarter and up 89,000 on a year earlier. The sector showing the largest increase in jobs over the quarter was administrative and support services activities which increased by 66,000 to reach 2.40 million.

Workforce jobs changes on quarter between June and September 2011, seasonally adjusted

Jobs
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. There were 455,000 job vacancies in the three months to November 2011, down 8,000 on the three months to August 2011 and down 13,000 on a year earlier. There were 1.7 vacancies per 100 employee jobs in the three months to November 2011, virtually unchanged on the previous quarter but down 0.1 percentage point on the year.

Vacancies, seasonally adjusted

Vacancies
Source: Vacancy Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Data tables

The Index of Data tables lists all of the regularly published labour market spreadsheets. These spreadsheets can be accessed from hyperlinks within this Index. The pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin includes all of the tables which appeared in the old style Labour Market Statistical Bulletin pdf files as published by ONS before the introduction of the new website on 27 August 2011.

Revisions

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 (416 Kb Excel sheet) , UNEM04 (1.35 Mb Excel sheet) , JOBS05 (314 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA04 (1.34 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).

Labour market statistics are revised in line with the revisions policy.

Sampling variability and seasonal adjustment

Sampling variability

Data table A11 (51 Kb Excel sheet) shows sampling variabilities, calculated on not seasonally adjusted data, for the Labour Force Surv ey. These sampling variability ranges represent '95 per cent confidence intervals'. It is expected that in 95 per cent of samples the range would contain the true value. 

The sampling variability of the three month average vacancies level (95 per cent confidence interval) is around +/- 1.5 per cent of that level.

The sampling variabilities of the whole economy single month Average Weekly Earnings growth rates (95 per cent confidence intervals) are as follows:

+/- 0.6 percentage points excluding bonuses.
+/- 0.7 percentage points including bonuses (April to November)
+/- 0.9 percentage points including bonuses (December to March)

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.

Background notes

  1. This month’s Statistical Bulletin
    There have been revisions to estimates of public sector employment back to the start of the time series in 1999. These revisions take account of late information, updates to seasonal factors, classification changes and re-referencing of survey estimates. There have been small revisions to estimates of vacancies per 100 employee jobs back to the start of the series in 2001 resulting from the correction of a minor error in the calculation of these estimates.
  2. Next month’s Statistical Bulletin
    The presentation of table CLA03 (60 Kb Excel sheet) , showing estimates of lone parent claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance, will be improved. The table will be expanded to include a new age breakdown. Lone parents who are currently eligible for income support until their youngest child reaches seven, will become ineligible once their youngest child reaches five, from early 2012. This continues the process of reducing the age of eligibility from 16 which started in November 2008. Although this is not a change in the eligibility for Jobseeker's Allowance, it is likely to have an impact on the level of the Claimant Count as lone parents who were not previously looking for work may start to do so. Estimates showing the number of lone parents in the Claimant Count by age of youngest child, spanning the period from before the rule change, are shown at data table CLA03 (60 Kb Excel sheet) and at worksheet 10(1) of data table A01 (2.51 Mb ZIP) .

    Table LABD03 (78 Kb Excel sheet) (Stoppages of work) will be improved to show information on the cause of disputes in the most recent month, which will be presented alongside the currently published twelve month totals. There will also be additional information made available on disputes continuing from earlier months.

  3. Publication policy
    Publication dates for 2012 can be found in the Background Notes to the November 2011 edition of this Statistical Bulletin. A list of the job titles of those given pre-publication access (33.7 Kb Pdf) to the contents of this Statistical Bulletin is available on the website.

    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. 
    © Crown Copyright 2011.

    You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/ or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email psi@nationalarchives.gov.uk.

  4. 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.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Richard Clegg +44 (0)1633 455400 Briefing labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Nick Palmer +44 (0)1633 455839 Labour Force Survey labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Jonathan Knight +44 (0)1633 455253 Claimant count, vacancies and benefits labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
David Matthews +44 (0)1633 456756 Workforce jobs & public sector employment labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Eric Crane +44 (0)1633 455092 Earnings labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Gaganan Awano +44 (0)1633 456299 Labour productivity labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
James Scruton +44 (0)1633 456724 Labour Disputes labour.market@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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