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Statistical bulletin: Labour Market Statistics, January 2014 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 22 January 2014 Download PDF

For September to November 2013:

  • The percentage of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work (the employment rate) was 72.1%. The employment rate is up 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013 and up 0.7 from a year earlier. There were 30.15 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 280,000 from June to August 2013 and up 450,000 from a year earlier.
  • The percentage of the economically active population aged 16 and over who were unemployed (the unemployment rate) was 7.1%. The unemployment rate is down 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013 and down 0.6 from a year earlier. There were 2.32 million unemployed people aged 16 and over, down 167,000 from June to August 2013 and down 172,000 from a year earlier.
  • The percentage of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (the economic inactivity rate) was 22.2%. The inactivity rate is down 0.1 percentage points from June to August 2013 and down 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier. There were 8.93 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 22,000 from June to August 2013 and down 75,000 from a year earlier.
  • Total pay and regular pay both rose by 0.9% compared with September to November 2012.

Summary of Labour Market Statistics

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

For September to November 2013, compared with June to August 2013:

  • The number of people in employment increased by 280,000 to reach 30.15 million.

  • The number of unemployed people fell by 167,000 to reach 2.32 million.

  • The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 22,000 to reach 8.93 million.

Comparing September to November 2013 with a year earlier:

  • There were 450,000 more people in employment.

  • There were 172,000 fewer unemployed people.

  • There were 75,000 fewer economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64.

These quarterly and annual movements are shown in Chart 1.

Chart 1: Quarterly and annual changes in number of people in the labour market, seasonally adjusted

Chart 1: Quarterly and annual changes in number of people in the labour market, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Quarterly changes are between June to August 2013 and September to November 2013.
  2. Annual changes are between September to November 2012 and September to November 2013.

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Between June to August 2013 and September to November 2013, there was a large increase in employment and a large fall in unemployment. Charts 2A and 2B show the employment and unemployment rates respectively since comparable records began in 1971.

For September to November 2013, 72.1% of the population aged from 16 to 64 were in work. This was:

  • up from 71.5% a year earlier,

  • up from 70.3% two years earlier, but

  • lower than before the 2008-09 downturn.

The highest employment rates since records began in 1971 were recorded in 1974 and the winter of 2004/05 (73.1%) and the lowest rates were recorded in 1983 (65.6%).

Chart 2A: Employment rate (aged 16 to 64) from January-March 1971 to September-November 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 2A: Employment rate (aged 16 to 64) from January-March 1971 to September-November 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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For September to November 2013, 7.1% of the economically active population (those in employment plus those who are unemployed) were unemployed. This was:

  • down from 7.7% a year earlier,

  • down from 8.4% two years earlier, but

  • higher than before the 2008-09 downturn.

The lowest unemployment rates since records began in 1971 were recorded in the winter of 1973/74 (3.4%) and the highest rates were recorded a decade later in mid-1984 (11.9%).

Chart 2B: Unemployment rate (aged 16 +) from January-March 1971 to September-November 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 2B: Unemployment rate (aged 16 +) from January-March 1971 to September-November 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Between November and December 2013 the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell by 24,000 to reach 1.25 million, the lowest figure since January 2009. Between December 2012 and December 2013 the number of JSA claimants fell by 307,000, the largest annual fall since March 1998.

Average weekly earnings, both including and excluding bonus payments, rose by 0.9% comparing September to November 2013 with the same period a year earlier. For November 2013 employees in Great Britain earned, on average, £475 a week including bonuses and £447 a week excluding bonuses before tax and other deductions from pay.

In this Bulletin

This Statistical Bulletin contains the latest estimates for employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, the 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, which includes a Glossary , 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 September to November 2013.

  • Claimant Count estimates for December 2013.

  • Vacancies estimates for October to December 2013.

  • Labour disputes estimates for November 2013.

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 18 December 2013. 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 (1.42 Mb Excel sheet) and EMP01 (1.3 Mb Excel sheet) .

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 72.1% for September to November 2013, up 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013 and up 0.7 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 77.2% for September to November 2013, up 0.7 percentage points from June to August 2013. The corresponding employment rate for women was 67.1%, up 0.3 percentage points from June to August 2013.

There were 30.15 million people aged 16 and over in employment for September to November 2013, up 280,000 from June to August 2013 and up 450,000 on a year earlier. Between June to August 2013 and September to November 2013, as shown in Chart 4:

  • The number of men working full-time, increased by 127,000 to reach 13.99 million.

  • The number of men working part-time, increased by 49,000 to reach 2.17 million.

  • The number of women working full-time increased by 94,000 to reach 8.06 million.

  • The number of women working part-time increased by 10,000 to reach 5.94 million.

Chart 4: Changes in people in employment between June to August 2013 and September to November 2013, seasonally adjusted

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

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Between June to August 2013 and September to November 2013:

  • the number of employees increased by 160,000 to reach 25.54 million,

  • the number of self-employed people increased by 147,000 to reach 4.36 million,

  • the number of unpaid family workers decreased by 6,000 to reach 110,000, 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) decreased by 20,000 to reach 148,000.

Notes for Employment

  1. Employment consists of employees, self-employed people, unpaid family workers and people on government supported training and employment programmes.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 

Public and Private Sector Employment (first published on 18 December 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 (52.5 Kb Excel sheet) and EMP04 (43.5 Kb Excel sheet) . Further information on public sector employment is available in the Public Sector Employment release published on 18 December 2013.

For September 2013:

  • There were 5.67 million people employed in the public sector, up 4,000 from June 2013 but down 52,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 24.42 million people employed in the private sector, up 246,000 from June 2013 and up 537,000 from a year earlier.   

  • 81.2% of people in employment worked in the private sector and the remaining 18.8% worked in the public sector.

Chart 5 shows public sector employment as a percentage of all people in employment for the last five years.

Chart 5: Public sector employment as a percentage of total employment, seasonally adjusted

Chart 5: Public sector employment as a percentage of total employment, seasonally adjusted
Source: Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc and Lloyds Banking Group plc are included in the public sector estimates from December 2008, but are in the private sector estimates for earlier time periods.
  2. Further education corporations and Sixth Form College Corporations in England are included in the public sector estimates up to March 2012, but are in the private sector for later time periods.

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For September 2013 within the public sector, as shown in Chart 6:

  • 1.56 million people were employed in the National Health Service, up 10,000 from June 2013,

  • 1.08 million people were employed in public administration, down 4,000 from June 2013,

  • 1.49 million people were employed in education, down 3,000 from June 2013, and

  • 432,000 people were employed in HM Forces and the police, down 3,000 from June 2013.


Chart 6: Public sector employment by industry for September 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 6: Public sector employment by industry for September 2013, 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 13 November 2013)

ONS publishes estimates of employment by both nationality and country of birth. The estimates relate to the number of people in employment rather than the number of jobs. Changes in the series therefore show net changes in the number of people in employment, not the proportion of new jobs that are taken by non-UK workers. Estimates of employment by nationality and country of birth are available at Table 8 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table EMP06 (179.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Looking at the estimates by nationality, between July to September 2012 and July to September 2013:

  • the number of people in employment in the UK increased by 376,000 to reach 30.07 million,

  • the number of UK nationals in employment in the UK increased by 348,000 to reach 27.42 million, and

  • the number of non-UK nationals in employment in the UK increased by 26,000 to reach 2.64 million.

These UK and non-UK estimates do not sum exactly to the total number of people in employment because some people do not state their nationality in their Labour Force Survey interviews.

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 July to September 2013, 4.38 million people in employment were born abroad, 1.74 million higher than the number of non-UK nationals in employment. Looking at the estimates by country of birth, between July to September 2012 and July to September 2013:

  • the number of people in employment in the UK increased by 376,000 to reach 30.07 million,

  • the number of UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 256,000 to reach 25.68 million, and

  • the number of non-UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 112,000 to reach 4.38 million.

These UK and non-UK estimates do not sum exactly to the total number of people in employment because some people do not state their country of birth in their Labour Force Survey interviews.

Chart 7: Employment by nationality and country of birth, changes between July to September 2012 and July to September 2013, not seasonally adjusted

Chart 7: Employment by nationality and country of birth, changes between July to September 2012 and July to September 2013, 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 (470.5 Kb Excel sheet) and HOUR02 (1.61 Mb Excel sheet) .

Total hours worked per week were 969.3 million for September to November 2013, up 10.4 million from June to August 2013 and up 24.4 million on a year earlier. Chart 8 shows total hours worked for the last five years. Average weekly hours worked for September to November 2013 were 32.2 virtually unchanged from June to August 2013 but up 0.3 hours from a year earlier.

Chart 8: Total weekly hours worked, seasonally adjusted

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

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Jobs (first published on 18 December 2013)

Workforce jobs measures the number of filled jobs in the economy. The estimates are mainly sourced from employer surveys. Workforce jobs is a different concept from employment, which is sourced from the Labour Force Survey, as employment is an estimate of people and 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 18 December 2013. Jobs estimates are available at Tables 5 and 6 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables JOBS01 (47.5 Kb Excel sheet) and JOBS02 (195.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

There were 32.35 million workforce jobs in September 2013, up 216,000 from June 2013 and up 598,000 on a year earlier. As shown in Chart 9, the sector showing the largest increase in jobs between September 2012 and September 2013 was professional, scientific and technical activities which increased by 137,000 to reach 2.62 million.

Chart 9: Workforce jobs changes between September 2012 and September 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 9: Workforce jobs changes between September 2012 and September 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: 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. 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 (474 Kb Excel sheet) , EARN02 (515 Kb Excel sheet) and EARN03 (573 Kb Excel sheet) .

In November 2013:

  • Average total pay (including bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £475 per week.

  • Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £447 per week.

Between September to November 2012 and September to November 2013, total pay and regular pay for employees in Great Britain rose by 0.9%. Between November 2012 and November 2013, the Consumer Prices Index increased by 2.1%. Prices therefore increased by more than earnings. Chart 10 shows annual growth rates for earnings and prices for the last five years.

 

Chart 10: Average earnings and consumer prices annual growth rates

Chart 10: 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 November 2008 to November 2013 and three month average estimates for Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) from September-November 2008 to September-November 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 September to November 2012 and September to November 2013:

  • For the private sector, total pay rose by 1.2%, while regular pay rose by 1.1%.

  • For the public sector, total pay rose by 0.2%, while regular pay rose by 0.3%.

  • For the public sector excluding financial services, total pay rose by 0.5%, while regular pay rose by 0.6%.

Notes for Earnings

  1. The estimates are in current prices; this means that they are not adjusted for price inflation.

  2. The estimates relate to Great Britain and include salaries but not unearned income, benefits in kind or arrears of pay. 

  3. 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.

  4. From October 2013 onwards Royal Mail plc is classified to the private sector, but for earlier time periods it is classified to the public sector. This reclassification has a small effect on the public and private sector single month growth rates from October 2013 and the three month average growth rates from August-October 2013. Further information regarding this reclassification is available in an article published on the website on 19 November 2013.

  5. From June 2012 onwards English Further Education Corporations and Sixth Form College Corporations are classified to the private sector, but for earlier time periods they are classified to the public sector. This affects the public and private sector single month growth rates from June 2012 to May 2013, and the three month average growth rates from June-August 2012 to May-July 2013. ONS estimates that, if the reclassification had not occurred, the public sector single month growth rates between June 2012 and May 2013 would have been between 0.6 and 0.8 percentage points lower and the corresponding private sector growth rates would have been between 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points higher

Labour Productivity (first published on 24 December 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 (67 Kb Excel sheet) . Further information is available in the Labour Productivity Statistical Bulletin published on 24 December 2013.

Whole economy output per hour fell by 0.3% between Quarter 2 and Quarter 3 of 2013. Whole economy unit labour costs fell by 0.8% between these quarters, reflecting the high level of bonus payments in Quarter 2. Chart 11 shows percentage changes on quarter for output per hour and unit labour costs for the last five years.

Chart 11: Output per hour and unit labour costs, percentage changes on quarter (seasonally adjusted)

Chart 11: Output per hour 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 (106 Kb Excel sheet) .

In November 2013, there were 14,000 working days lost from 12 stoppages. In the 12 months to November 2013, there were 410,000 working days lost from 122 stoppages. Chart 12 shows cumulative 12 month totals for working days lost for the last five years.

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

Chart 12: 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 are 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 which affected the cumulative 12 month totals from May 2012 to April 2013.

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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 (2.08 Mb Excel sheet) .

The unemployment rate was 7.1% for September to November 2013, down 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013 and down 0.6 percentage points 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 (those in employment plus those who are unemployed). Chart 13 shows the unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over for the last five years.

Chart 13: Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted

Chart 13: Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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For September to November 2013:

  • There were 2.32 million unemployed people, down 167,000 from June to August 2013 and down 172,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.31 million unemployed men, down 106,000 from June to August 2013 and down 94,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.01 million unemployed women, down 61,000 from June to August 2013 and down 79,000 from a year earlier.

Looking at unemployment by duration for September to November 2013, as shown in Chart 14:

  • 1.09 million people had been unemployed for up to six months, down 55,000 from June to August 2013 and down 90,000 from a year earlier.

  • 395,000 people had been unemployed for between six and twelve months, down 51,000 from June to August 2013 and down 29,000 from a year earlier.

  • 839,000 people had been unemployed for over one year, down 61,000 from June to August 2013 and down 53,000 from a year earlier.

  • 449,000 people had been unemployed for over two years, down 18,000 from June to August 2013 but up 14,000 from a year earlier.

Chart 14: Unemployment by duration for September to November 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 14: Unemployment by duration for September to November 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 (278 Kb Excel sheet) . The unemployment rate for the European Union (EU) was 10.9% of the economically active population for November 2013.

The EU countries with the highest unemployment rates were:

  • Greece at 27.4% for September 2013, and

  • Spain at 26.7% for November 2013.

The EU countries with the lowest unemployment rates were:

  • Austria at 4.8% for November 2013, and

  • Germany at 5.2% for November 2013.

These EU unemployment rates were published in a Eurostat News Release on 8 January 2014.

The unemployment rate for the United States was 7.0% for November 2013 and 6.7% for December 2013. Chart 15 shows the unemployment rates for the UK, the EU and the United States for the last five years.

Chart 15: Unemployment rates for the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, seasonally adjusted

Chart 15: 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 November 2008 to November 2013 and three month average estimates for the UK from September-November 2008 to September-November 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 (2.31 Mb Excel sheet) . Estimates for young people who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) for July to September 2013 were published on 21 November 2013.

For September to November 2013:

  • There were 3.68 million 16 to 24 year olds in employment (22% of whom were in full-time education), up 77,000 from June to August 2013.

  • There were 2.61 million economically inactive 16 to 24 year olds (75% of whom were in full-time education), down 46,000 from June to August 2013.

  • There were 920,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds (31% of whom were in full-time education), down 39,000 from June to August 2013.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 20.0% for September to November 2013, down 1.0 percentage points from June to August 2013. 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 633,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds for September to November 2013, down 27,000 from June to August 2013. The corresponding unemployment rate was 18.1% of the economically active population for 16 to 24 year olds not in FTE, down 0.9 percentage points from June to August 2013.

Chart 16: Young people (aged 16 to 24) in the labour market for September to November 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 16: Young people (aged 16 to 24) in the labour market for September to November 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 benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. Since October 1996 it has been a count of the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. The Claimant Count can be affected by changes to the overall benefits system. See Notes for Claimant Count at the end of this section for further details. Claimant Count estimates are available at Tables 10 and 11 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables CLA01 (301 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA02 (482 Kb Excel sheet) .

The Claimant Count for December 2013 was 1.25 million, down 24,000 from November 2013 and down 307,000 from a year earlier. Chart 17 shows the Claimant Count for the last five years. The Claimant Count rate for December 2013 was 3.7%, down 0.1 percentage points from November 2013 and down 0.9 percentage points from a year earlier.

Chart 17: Claimant Count, seasonally adjusted

Chart 17: Claimant Count, seasonally adjusted
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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Chart 18 shows that for December 2013, excluding a small number of clerically processed claims for which an age breakdown is not available, there were:

  • 315,000 people aged from 18 to 24 claiming JSA, down 9,100 from November 2013,

  • 703,200 people aged from 25 to 49 claiming JSA, down 13,100 from November 2013, and

  • 226,700 people aged 50 and over claiming JSA, down 1,900 from November 2013.

Chart 18: JSA claimants (excluding clerical claims) by age and sex for December 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 18: JSA claimants (excluding clerical claims) by age and sex for December 2013, seasonally adjusted
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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Notes for Claimant Count

  1. The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. Since October 1996 it has been a count of the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). The Claimant Count does not yet include people claiming Universal Credit - a new benefit which, for the December 2013 Claimant Count date, had been introduced in only seven Jobcentre Plus offices. The absence of Universal Credit claimants is expected to have a small effect on the Claimant Count from May 2013. See Background Notes to this Statistical Bulletin for further details.

  2. The Claimant Count includes people who claim Jobseeker’s Allowance but who do not receive payment. For example some claimants will have had their benefits stopped for a limited period of time by Jobcentre Plus; this is known as “sanctioning”. Some people claim Jobseeker’s Allowance in order to receive National Insurance Credits.

  3. The Claimant Count can be affected by changes to the benefits system. Since April 2011 there 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 Claimant Count for people claiming benefits for longer durations has also been affected by the introduction of the Work Programme in June 2011 as this has resulted in individuals being more likely to remain on JSA for a single unbroken duration rather than an individual having a succession of shorter duration claims.

Comparison between Unemployment and the Claimant Count

Unemployment is measured according to internationally accepted 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 benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. Since October 1996 it has been a count of 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 19 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), between June to August 2013 and September to November 2013:

  • unemployment fell by 162,000, and

  • the Claimant Count fell by 125,000.

Chart 19: Quarterly changes in Unemployment and the Claimant Count (aged 18 to 64), seasonally adjusted

Chart 19: 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 (1.42 Mb Excel sheet) and INAC01 (2.56 Mb Excel sheet) .

The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.2% for September to November 2013, down 0.1 percentage point from June to August 2013 and down 0.2 from a year earlier. Chart 20 shows the economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the last five years.

Chart 20: Economic inactivity rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

Chart 20: Economic inactivity rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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There were 8.93 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 for September to November 2013, down 22,000 from June to August 2013 and down 75,000 from a year earlier. Looking at economic inactivity (for people aged from 16 to 64) by reason for September to November 2013, as shown in Chart 21:

  • There were 2.28 million economically inactive students, down 45,000 from June to August 2013 but up 67,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 2.29 million people looking after the family or home, up 41,000 from June to August 2013 but down 42,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 2.00 million people who were economically inactive due to long-term sickness, up 16,000 from June to August 2013 but down 39,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.34 million economically inactive people who had retired before reaching the age of 65, down 28,000 from June to August 2013 and down 75,000 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 21: Economic inactivity by reason (aged 16 to 64) for September to November 2013, seasonally adjusted

Chart 21: Economic inactivity by reason (aged 16 to 64) for September to November 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 (192.5 Kb Excel sheet) and RED02 (2.38 Mb Excel sheet)

For September to November 2013, 112,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, down 21,000 from June to August 2013 and down 47,000 from a year earlier. Chart 22 shows the number of people made redundant for the last five years. The redundancy rate was 4.4 per 1,000 employees, down 0.8 from June to August 2013 and down 1.9 from a year earlier.

Chart 22: Redundancies, seasonally adjusted

Chart 22: Redundancies, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - 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 (44 Kb Excel sheet) , VACS02 (121.5 Kb Excel sheet) and VACS03 (57 Kb Excel sheet) .

There were 569,000 job vacancies for October to December 2013, up 22,000 from July to September 2013 and up 75,000 from a year earlier. Chart 23 shows the number of vacancies for the last five years. There were 2.1 vacancies per 100 employee jobs for October to December 2013, up 0.1 from July to September 2013 and up 0.3 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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Key Out of Work Benefits, Not Seasonally Adjusted (first published on 13 November 2013)

Key out of work benefits includes claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance and other incapacity benefits. It also includes claimants of Income Support and Pension Credit. Most people claiming these benefits are out of work. These estimates exclude claimants in Northern Ireland. Estimates of claimants of key out of work benefits are available at Table 25 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data table BEN01 (60.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

For May 2013:

  • There were 4.54 million people claiming key out of work benefits, down 262,600 from May 2012.

  • 11.4% of the population aged from 16 to 64 were claiming key out of work benefits, down 0.7 percentage points from May 2012.

Chart 24 shows, for the last five years, the proportion of the population aged from 16 to 64 claiming key out of work benefits.

Chart 24: Proportion of population (aged 16 to 64) claiming key out of work benefits, not seasonally adjusted

Chart 24: Proportion of population (aged 16 to 64) claiming key out of work benefits, not seasonally adjusted
Source: Work and Pensions, Office for National Statistics

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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 EMP05 (864.5 Kb Excel sheet) , UNEM04 (1.82 Mb Excel sheet) , JOBS06 (363 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA03 (1.75 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 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 (474 Kb Excel sheet) and EARN03 (573 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
    There have been minor revisions to estimates of labour disputes (published at Table 20 in the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables LABD01, LABD02 and LABD03) for September 2013 due to the receipt of later information.

  2. Next month’s release
    There are no major developments planned for next month’s release.

  3. Changes planned for March 2014 release
    Royal Mail plc is classified to the private sector from October 2013; for earlier time periods it is classified to the public sector. Consequently, in the Labour Market and Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletins to be published on 19 March 2014, Royal Mail plc will continue to be included in the public sector employment estimates up to September 2013, but it will not be included in the estimates for December 2013. This will result in a step change in the public and private sector employment series between September and December 2013.

    To enable users to see the movements in public and private sector employment excluding the effects of major reclassifications, the following changes will be made to the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin to be published on 19 March 2014:

    • At Table 4 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin, series KX5M, KX5N, KX5O, KX5P and KSL8 will be discontinued and replaced by series showing estimates of public and private sector employment excluding effects of major reclassifications. Corresponding changes will be made to the data table EMP02.

    • Table 4(2) of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and the corresponding data table EMP04 will be discontinued.

    Similar changes will be made to the Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletin, to be published on 19 March 2014.

    Further information regarding this reclassification is available in an article published on the website on 19 November 2013.

  4. Introduction of Universal Credit 
    The Pathfinder for Universal Credit started on 29 April 2013 with the introduction of this new benefit in one Jobcentre Plus office (Ashton under Lyne). The pathfinder was extended to a second Jobcentre Plus office (Wigan) on 1 July 2013 and two further offices (Oldham and Warrington) joined the pathfinder on 29 July 2013.

    The progressive national roll out of Universal Credit across the rest of the UK commenced with Hammersmith Jobcentre Plus office on 28 October 2013 and was followed by Rugby and Inverness Jobcentre Plus offices on 25 November 2013.

    Universal Credit will replace a number of means-tested benefits including the means-tested element of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). It will not replace contributory based JSA.

    The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. Since October 1996 it has been a count of the number of people claiming JSA. Following a consultation in 2012 by ONS, it was agreed that, with the introduction of Universal Credit, the Claimant Count would include:

    • people claiming contribution-based JSA (which is not affected by the introduction of Universal Credit),

    • people claiming means-tested JSA during the transition period while this benefit is being gradually phased out, and

    • people claiming Universal Credit who are not earning and who are subject to a full set of labour market jobseeker requirements, that is required to be actively seeking work and available to start work.

    On 3 December 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published a statistical release providing data for the number of people claiming Universal Credit. This release shows that 2,030 people were claiming Universal Credit on 30 September 2013. This total includes all claimants of Universal Credit, not just those who were jobseekers.

    The Claimant Count estimates from May 2013, published in this Statistical Bulletin, do not include claimants of Universal Credit. The absence of Universal Credit claimants is expected to have a small effect on the Claimant Count from May 2013. This assessment reflects the information published by DWP on 3 December 2013.

    ONS will include jobseeker Universal Credit claims in the Claimant Count statistics as soon as possible.

  5. Publication policy
    Publication dates up to the end of 2014 are available in the Background Notes to the June 2013 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 @ONSRichardClegg +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
Mark Williams +44 (0)1633 456728 Workforce Jobs, Public Sector Employment and Vacancies mark.williams@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Ian Richardson +44 (0)1633 455780 Average Weekly Earnings ster@ons.gsi.gov.uk
John Allen +44 (0)1633 456086 Labour Productivity productivity@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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