Skip to content

Statistical bulletin: Labour Market Statistics, January 2012 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 18 January 2012 Download PDF

For September to November 2011:

  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.3 per cent, down 0.1 on the quarter. There were 29.12 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 18,000 on the quarter.
  • The unemployment rate was 8.4 per cent of the economically active population, up 0.3 on the quarter. There were 2.68 million unemployed people, up 118,000 on the quarter. The unemployment rate has not been higher since 1995 and the number of unemployed people has not been higher since 1994.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 23.1 per cent, down 0.2 on the quarter. There were 9.29 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 61,000 on the quarter.
  • Total pay (including bonuses) rose by 1.9 per cent on a year earlier, down 0.2 on the three months to October 2011(with both the private and public sectors showing lower pay growth).
  • Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.9 per cent on a year earlier, up 0.1 on the three months to October 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 September to November 2011.
Claimant count estimates for December 2011.
Vacancies estimates for October to December 2011.
Labour disputes estimates for November 2011.

Summary of labour market statistics published on 18 January 2012

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 November 2011 was 70.3 per cent, down 0.1 percentage point on the quarter. The number of people in employment aged 16 and over increased by 18,000 on the quarter and by 26,000 on the year to reach 29.12 million. The number of employees fell by 109,000 over the quarter to reach 24.79 million. The number of self-employed people increased by 101,000 on the quarter to reach 4.12 million. The number of people in other categories of employment increased by 26,000 over the quarter to reach 210,000. The number of people in full-time employment fell by 57,000 over the quarter to reach 21.26 million but the number of people in part-time employment increased by 75,000 to reach 7.86 million. The number of employees and self-employed people who were working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 44,000 on the quarter to reach 1.31 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.

The unemployment rate for the three months to November 2011 was 8.4 per cent of the economically active population, up 0.3 on the quarter. The unemployment rate was last higher in the three months to November 1995. The total number of unemployed people increased by 118,000 over the quarter to reach 2.68 million. The number of unemployed people was last higher in the three months to August 1994. The number of unemployed people aged from 16 to 24 increased by 52,000 over the quarter to reach 1.04 million; this figure includes 313,000 people in full-time education who were looking for work. The unemployment level for people aged from 16 to 24 was 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 November 2011 was 23.1 per cent, down 0.2 on the quarter.  The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 61,000 over the quarter to reach 9.29 million. This quarterly fall in economic inactivity was mainly due to fewer women looking after the family or home (down 44,000) and fewer retired people below the age of 65 (down 34,000).

There were 1.60 million people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in December 2011, up 1,200 on November. The number of people claiming JSA for up to six months fell by 16,500 between November and December to reach 928,200.

The whole economy earnings annual growth rate for total pay (including bonuses) fell by 0.2 percentage points between the three months to October 2011 and the three months to November to reach 1.9 per cent. The annual growth rate for the private sector fell from 2.1 per cent to 2.0 per cent and the public sector growth rate fell from 2.1 per cent to 1.9 per cent, the lowest figure since comparable records began in 2001. The annual growth rate for the public sector, excluding financial corporations, fell from 1.7 per cent to 1.4 per cent, the lowest figure since comparable records began in 2001. However, in November 2011, average weekly pay for the private sector (£462 per week) was lower than the total public sector (£477 per week) and the public sector excluding financial corporations (£467 per week).

In November 2011, there were 988,000 working days lost due to labour disputes, the highest figure since July 1989. Most of the working days lost in November 2011 were due to a one day strike on 30 November called by several trade unions in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pension schemes for some public sector workers.

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 on 14 December 2011. The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.3 per cent in the three months to November 2011, down 0.1 percentage point on the three months to August 2011 and down 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier.

Employment rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

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

Download chart

The employment rate for men aged from 16 to 64 was 75.2 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points on the previous quarter. The corresponding employment rate for women was 65.4 per cent, down 0.1 percentage point on the previous quarter.

The number of people in employment was 29.12 million in the three months to November 2011, up 18,000 from the three months to August 2011 and up 26,000 on a year earlier. The number of people in full-time employment was 21.26 million in the three months to November 2011, down 57,000 from the three months to August 2011. Of this total, 13.57 million were men and 7.69 million were women. The number of people in part-time employment was 7.86 million in the three months to November 2011, up 75,000 from the three months to August 2011. Of this total, 2.01 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 published on 14 December 2011.

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

Download chart

Actual hours worked

Actual hours worked measures the number of hours worked in the economy. Total hours worked per week were 916.3 million in the three months to November 2011, down 0.2 million from the three months to August 2011. Average weekly hours worked in the three months to November 2011 were 31.5, unchanged from the three months to August 2011.

Total weekly hours, seasonally adjusted

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

Download chart

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 November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 total pay rose by 1.9 per cent on a year earlier, down 0.2 from the three months to October. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) was £438 per week in November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 regular pay rose by 1.9 per cent on a year earlier, up 0.1 from the three months to October.

GB whole economy average earnings annual growth rates, seasonally adjusted

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

Download chart

Average total pay (including bonuses) in the private sector was £462 per week in November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 total pay in the private sector rose by 2.0 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the private sector was £428 per week in November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 regular pay in the private sector rose by 2.0 per cent on a year earlier.

Average total pay (including bonuses) in the public sector was £477 per week in November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 total pay in the public sector rose by 1.9 per cent on a year earlier. Average total pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, was £467 per week in November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 total pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, rose by 1.4 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the public sector was £474 per week in November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 regular pay in the public sector rose by 1.9 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, was £465 per week in November 2011. In the three months to November 2011 regular pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, rose by 1.4 per cent on a year earlier.

Labour productivity

Whole economy output per worker is the ratio of output to employment while unit labour costs is the ratio of total labour costs to output. Whole economy output per worker increased by 1.2 per cent between 2011 Q2 and 2011 Q3. Whole economy unit labour costs increased by 0.5 per cent between these quarters. Further information is available in the Labour Productivity Statistical Bulletin published on 23 December 2011.

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

Labour productivity
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Labour disputes (not seasonally adjusted)

These estimates measure disputes (ie, strikes) connected with terms and conditions of employment. In November 2011, there were 988,000 working days lost from eight stoppages. In the twelve months to November 2011, there were 1.38 million working days lost from 134 stoppages. Most of the working days lost in November 2011 were due to a one day strike by several trade unions in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pensions for some public sector workers.

Working days lost cumulative 12 month totals, not seasonally adjusted

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

Notes:

  1. There was 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. Estimates of working days lost for the dispute mentioned in Note 1 do not include days lost due to people unable to attend work due to industrial action taken by others.

Download chart

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 8.4 per cent in the three months to November 2011, up 0.3 percentage points from the three months to August 2011 and up 0.5 from a year earlier. Unemployment rates are calculated, in accordance with international guidelines, as the number of unemployed people divided by the economically active population (defined as those in employment plus those who are unemployed).

Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted

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

Download chart

The number of unemployed people was 2.68 million in the three months to November 2011, up 118,000 from the three months to August 2011 and up 189,000 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed men was 1.56 million in the three months to November 2011, up 59,000 from the three months to August 2011. The number of unemployed women was 1.13 million in the three months to November 2011, up 59,000 from the three months to August 2011. The number of people unemployed for over one year was 857,000 in the three months to November 2011, down 10,000 from the three months to August 2011.  The number of people unemployed for over two years was 424,000 in the three months to November 2011, up 1,000 from the three months to August 2011.

Young people in the labour market

In the three months to November 2011, there were 3.64 million 16 to 24 years olds in employment, down 28,000 from the three months to August 2011. There were 2.62 million economically inactive 16 to 24 year olds (most of whom were in full-time education), down 33,000 on the three months to August 2011. There were 1.04 million unemployed 16 to 24 year olds, up 52,000 from the three months to August 2011.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 22.3 per cent in the three months to November 2011, up 1.0 percentage points from the three months to August 2011. In accordance with international guidelines, unemployment rates are calculated as the number of unemployed people divided by the economically active population (defined as those in employment plus those who are unemployed). Movements in youth unemployment rates can therefore be affected by changes to the economically active population, which can result from changes in the number of young people who are economically inactive because they are in full-time education.

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 729,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds in the three months to November 2011, up 8,000 from the three months to August 2011. The corresponding unemployment rate was 20.7 per cent of the economically active population for 16 to 24 year olds not in full-time education, up 0.5 percentage points from the three months to August 2011.

Youth unemployment (aged 16 to 24) September to November 2011, seasonally adjusted

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

Download chart

 

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 monthly changes in the claimant count is likely to be small.

The claimant count in December 2011 was 1.60 million, up 1,200 on the previous month and up 142,400 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

Download chart

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 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), the movements in the two series over the latest quarter are fairly close. For this population group, between June-August and September-November 2011, unemployment increased by 67,000 and the claimant count increased by 39,000. The chart below, and the associated spreadsheet, compare quarterly changes in unemployment and the claimant count for people aged from 18 to 64, excluding 18-24 year olds in full-time education, for the last two years.

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

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, 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 Dept. for Work and Pensions).

Download chart


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. The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 23.1 per cent in the three months to November 2011, down 0.2 percentage points on the three months to August 2011 and from a year earlier. The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 61,000 over the quarter and by 71,000 over the year, to reach 9.29 million in the three months to November 2011.

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

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

Download chart

Redundancies

The redundancies estimates measure the number of people who have been made redundant or have taken voluntary redundancy. In the three months to November 2011, 164,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, up 14,000 from the three months to August 2011 and up 5,000 from a year earlier. The redundancy rate was 6.6 per 1,000 employees, up 0.6 on the previous quarter and up 0.2 on a year earlier.

Redundancies, seasonally adjusted

Redundancies
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

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 on 14 December 2011. 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

Download chart

Vacancies

Vacancies are defined as positions for which employers are actively seeking to recruit outside their business or organisation. There were 463,000 job vacancies in the three months to December 2011, down 2,000 on the three months to September 2011 and down 18,000 on a year earlier. There were 1.8 vacancies per 100 employee jobs in the three months to December 2011, 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

Download chart

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 (432 Kb Excel sheet) , UNEM04 (1.37 Mb Excel sheet) , JOBS05 (314 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA04 (1.35 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 (52 Kb Excel sheet) shows sampling variabilities, calculated on not seasonally adjusted data, for the Labour Force Survey. 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
    Data table CLA03 (63.5 Kb Excel sheet) , and Table 10(1) in the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin, show estimates of lone parent claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance. This table has been improved to include new age breakdowns (0-4 and 5-6). 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 subject to the passage of the Welfare Reform Bill. 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. 

    Data table LABD03 (79 Kb Excel sheet) (Stoppages of work) has been improved to show information on the cause of disputes in the most recent month, which is presented alongside the twelve month totals. Additional information has also been made available on disputes continuing from earlier months.

  2. Next month’s Statistical Bulletin
    There are no major developments planned for next month’s Statistical Bulletin.
  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 (34.4 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 2012.

    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
Bob Watson +44 (0)1633 455070 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
Mark Franklin +44 (0)1633 455981 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 .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.