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

Released: 18 July 2012 Download PDF

For March to May 2012:

  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.7 per cent, up 0.3 on the quarter. There were 29.35 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 181,000 on the quarter.
  • The unemployment rate was 8.1 per cent of the economically active population, down 0.2 on the quarter. There were 2.58 million unemployed people, down 65,000 on the quarter.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.9 per cent, down 0.2 on the quarter. There were 9.21 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 61,000 on the quarter.
  • Total pay (including bonuses) rose by 1.5 per cent on a year earlier, up 0.1 on the three months to April 2012. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.8 per cent on a year earlier, unchanged on the three months to April 2012.

In this Bulletin

This Statistical Bulletin contains the latest estimates for employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, claimant count, average earnings, labour productivity, vacancies and labour disputes. The estimates are used by a wide range of users, particularly across government and the media, to monitor developments in the labour market. All estimates discussed in this Statistical Bulletin are for the United Kingdom and are seasonally adjusted except where otherwise stated. The Statistical Bulletin is accompanied by data tables in spreadsheet format.

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

New this month:

Labour Force Survey and Average Weekly Earnings estimates for March to May 2012

Claimant count estimates for June 2012

Vacancies estimates for April to June 2012

Labour disputes estimates for May 2012

In this Bulletin, estimates sourced from the Labour Force Survey for the three month period March to May 2012 are compared with estimates for December 2011 to February 2012.

Summary of labour market statistics published on 18 July 2012

A short video explaining this story is available.

Between December 2011 to February 2012 and March to May 2012, unemployment and economic inactivity fell and employment increased.

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to May 2012 was 70.7 per cent, up 0.3 on the quarter. The number of people in employment aged 16 and over increased by 181,000 on the quarter to reach 29.35 million, the largest quarterly increase since the three months to July 2010. The number of people in employment was 218,000 lower than the pre-recession peak of 29.57 million recorded in March-May 2008.

The number of full-time workers increased by 133,000 to reach 21.37 million and the number of part-time workers increased by 48,000 to reach 7.99 million. Most age groups showed increases in employment over the quarter with the largest increase occurring in the 25 to 34 age group, where the number of people in employment increased by 79,000 to reach 6.64 million.� The number of people aged 65 and over in employment increased by 52,000 on the quarter to reach 929,000, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.

The unemployment rate for the three months to May 2012 was 8.1 per cent of the economically active population, down 0.2 on the quarter. The total number of unemployed people fell by 65,000 over the quarter, but increased by 132,000 on the year, to reach 2.58 million. The number of people unemployed for over two years increased by 18,000 over the quarter to reach 441,000, the highest figure since the three months to July 1997.

The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to May 2012 was 22.9 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, and by 121,000 over the year, to reach 9.21 million. This quarterly fall in economic inactivity was mainly due to a fall of 82,000, to reach 2.20 million, in the number of people who were not active in the labour market because they were students.

In June 2012 there were 1.60 million people claiming Jobseeker�s Allowance (JSA). This was up 6,100 compared with May. The number of women claiming JSA increased by 8,000 between May and June to reach 530,700, the highest figure since August 1995. This increase in the number of women claiming JSA between May and June is likely to have been affected by a change in the eligibility rules for Lone Parent Income Support (LPIS) which has resulted in fewer lone parents being able to claim LPIS.

The whole economy earnings annual growth rate for total pay was 1.5 per cent in the three months to May 2012 and the annual growth rate for regular pay was 1.8 per cent. These growth rates were little changed compared with the three months to April.

In the twelve months to May 2012 there were 1.48 million working days lost due to labour disputes, the highest figure since the twelve months to January 1991. Most of the working days lost in the twelve months to May 2012 were due to strikes in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pensions 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 20 June 2012. A short video explaining the basic labour market concepts of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity is available on the ONS YouTube channel. The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.7 per cent in the three months to May 2012, up 0.3 percentage points on the three months to February but unchanged from a year earlier.

Employment rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

Employment rate, July 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The employment rate for men aged from 16 to 64 was 75.9 per cent, up 0.4 percentage points on the previous quarter. The corresponding employment rate for women was 65.6 per cent, up 0.3 on the previous quarter.

The number of people in employment was 29.35 million in the three months to May 2012, up 181,000 from the three months to February and up 75,000 on a year earlier. The number of people in full-time employment was 21.37 million in the three months to May 2012, up 133,000 from the three months to February. Of this total, 13.65 million were men and 7.72 million were women. The number of people in part-time employment was 7.99 million in the three months to May 2012, up 48,000 from the three months to February. Of this total, 2.12 million were men and 5.87 million were women.

The number of people employed in the public sector was 5.90 million in March 2012, down 39,000 from December 2011. The number of people employed in the private sector in March 2012 was 23.38 million, up 205,000 from December 2011. Further information on public sector employment is available in the Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletin published on 20 June 2012.

Employment by country of birth and nationality, not seasonally adjusted (first published on 16 May 2012)

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 26.59 million in the three months to March 2012, down 43,000 on a year earlier. The number of non-UK nationals in employment was 2.55 million, up 49,000 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 March 2012, unchanged on a year earlier. The corresponding employment rate for non-UK nationals was 66.3 per cent, down 1.4 percentage points on a year earlier.

The number of UK born people in employment was 25.08 million in the three months to March 2012, down 8,000 on a year earlier. The number of non-UK born people in employment was 4.06 million, up 16,000 from a year earlier.

The employment rate for UK born people aged from 16 to 64 was 71.2 per cent in the three months to March 2012, up 0.2 percentage points on a year earlier. The corresponding employment rate for non-UK born people was 65.4 per cent, down 1.9 on a year earlier.

Employment by country of birth and nationality, changes on year between January-March 2011 and January-March 2012, not seasonally adjusted

Employment by country of birth and nationality, May 2012
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 937.8 million in the three months to May 2012, up 9.0 million from the three months to February and up 26.8 million on a year earlier. Average weekly hours worked in the three months to May 2012 were 32.0, up 0.1 from the three months to February and up 0.8 on a year earlier.

These annual increases in total hours worked and in average hours worked are affected by the arrangement of public holidays. There were more public holidays than usual during the March-May period in 2011 (due to the Royal Wedding) and there were fewer public holidays than usual during the same period in 2012 (as the public holiday usually occurring in late May was moved to early June).

Total weekly hours worked, seasonally adjusted

Hours Chart, July 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Earnings

Earnings measures money paid to employees in return for work done, before tax and other deductions from pay. The estimates relate to Great Britain and include salaries but not unearned income, benefits in kind or arrears of pay. As well as pay settlements, the estimates reflect bonuses, changes in the number of paid hours worked and the impact of employees paid at different rates joining and leaving individual businesses.

The estimates also reflect changes in the overall structure of the workforce; for example, fewer low paid jobs in the economy would have an upward effect on the earnings growth rate. Average total pay (including bonuses) was �468 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 total pay rose by 1.5 per cent on a year earlier, up 0.1 from the three months to April. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) was �442 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 regular pay rose by 1.8 per cent on a year earlier, unchanged from the three months to April.

Whole economy average earnings annual growth rates (Great Britain), seasonally adjusted

Average Weekly Earnings Chart, July 2012
Source: Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Average total pay (including bonuses) in the private sector was �466 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 total pay in the private sector rose by 1.5 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the private sector was �432 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 regular pay in the private sector rose by 2.1 per cent on a year earlier.

Average total pay (including bonuses) in the public sector was �480 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 total pay in the public sector rose by 1.5 per cent on a year earlier. Average total pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, was �469 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 total pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, rose by 0.9 per cent on a year earlier.

Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the public sector was �476 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 regular pay in the public sector rose by 1.3 per cent on a year earlier. Average regular pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, was �468 per week in May 2012. In the three months to May 2012 regular pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, rose by 0.9 per cent on a year earlier.

Labour productivity (first published on 29 June 2012)

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). Whole economy output per worker fell by 0.7 per cent between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. Whole economy unit labour costs increased by 1.4 per cent between these quarters. Further information is available in the Labour Productivity Statistical Bulletin published on 29 June 2012.

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

Productivity, July 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Labour disputes (not seasonally adjusted)

These estimates measure disputes (ie, strikes) connected with terms and conditions of employment. In May 2012, there were 112,000 working days lost from twenty stoppages. Most of the working days lost in May 2012 were due to a one day strike in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pensions for some public sector workers. In the twelve months to May 2012, there were 1.48 million working days lost from 139 stoppages.

Working days lost cumulative 12 month totals, not seasonally adjusted

Labour Disputes Chart, July 2012
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.
  3. There was a further one day strike on 30 May 2012 in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pension schemes for some public sector workers.

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Unemployment

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work and are available to start work if a job is offered. A short video explaining the basic labour market concepts of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity is available on the ONS YouTube channel.

The unemployment rate was 8.1 per cent in the three months to May 2012, down 0.2 percentage points from the three months to February but up 0.4 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).

Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted

Unemployment rate, July 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The number of unemployed people was 2.58 million in the three months to May 2012, down 65,000 from the three months to February but up 132,000 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed men was 1.48 million in the three months to May 2012, down 34,000 from the three months to February. The number of unemployed women was 1.10 million in the three months to May 2012, down 32,000 from the three months to February.

The number of people unemployed for over one year was 885,000 in the three months to May 2012, up 3,000 from the three months to February.�The number of people unemployed for over two years was 441,000 in the three months to May 2012, up 18,000 from the three months to February.

The unemployment rate for the European Union (EU) was 10.3 per cent of the economically active population in May 2012. The EU country with the highest unemployment rate was Spain, at 24.6 per cent, and the EU country with the lowest unemployment rate was Austria, at 4.1 per cent. The unemployment rate for Japan was 4.4 per cent in May 2012. The unemployment rate for the United States was 8.2 per cent in June 2012.

Young people in the labour market

In the three months to May 2012, there were 3.64 million 16 to 24 years olds in employment, up 14,000 from the three months to February. There were 2.62 million economically inactive 16 to 24 year olds (most of whom were in full-time education), down 14,000 on the three months to February. There were 1.02 million unemployed 16 to 24 year olds, down 10,000 from the three months to February.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 21.9 per cent in the three months to May 2012, down 0.2 percentage points from the three months to February. 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 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 724,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds in the three months to May 2012, up 6,000 from the three months to February.

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 0.2 percentage points from the three months to February.

Youth Unemployment (aged 16 to 24) March to May 2012, seasonally adjusted

Youth Unemployment, July 2012
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 in June 2012 was 1.60 million, up 6,100 on the previous month and up 78,600 on a year earlier. The claimant count rate was 4.9 per cent, unchanged on the previous month but up 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier.

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 (LPIS) 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. A further change to the eligibility rules for LPIS, which came into effect on 21 May 2012, is likely to have affected the increase in the claimant count between May and June 2012.

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

Claimant count, seasonally adjusted

Claimant Count Chart, July 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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Comparison between unemployment and the claimant count

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

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

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

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

The claimant count measures the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits; since October 1996 this has been the number of people claiming Jobseeker�s Allowance (JSA). Some JSA claimants will not be classified as unemployed. For example, people in employment working 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 month average time periods. The unemployment estimates shown in this comparison exclude unemployed people in the 16 to 17 and 65 and over age groups as well as unemployed people aged from 18 to 24 in full-time education. This provides a more meaningful comparison with the claimant count than total unemployment because people in these population groups are not usually eligible to claim JSA.

When three-month average estimates for the claimant count are compared with unemployment estimates for the same time periods and for the same population groups (people aged from 18 to 64 excluding 18 to 24 year olds in full-time education), unemployment fell by 46,000 and the claimant count fell by 6,000, between December 2011 to February 2012 and March to May 2012.

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

Quarterly Unemployment and Claimant Count Chart, July 2012
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 on the ONS YouTube channel.

The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.9 per cent in the three months to May 2012, down 0.2 percentage points on the three months to February and down 0.3 from a year earlier. The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 61,000 over the quarter and by 121,000 over the year, to reach 9.21 million in the three months to May 2012.

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

Inactivity Rate, July 2012
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. In the three months to May 2012, 147,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, down 27,000 from the three months to February but up 4,000 from a year earlier. The redundancy rate was 5.9 per 1,000 employees, down 1.1 on the previous quarter but up 0.2 on a year earlier.

Redundancies, seasonally adjusted

Redundancies, July 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Jobs (first published on 20 June 2012)

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 20 June 2012. There were 31.89 million workforce jobs in March 2012, up 357,000 over the quarter and up 544,000 on a year earlier. The sector showing the largest increase in jobs over the quarter was wholesale, retailing and repair of motor vehicles which increased by 110,000 to reach 4.90 million.

Workforce jobs changes on quarter between December 2011 and March 2012, seasonally adjusted

Workforce jobs, June 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. SIC 2007 Section G includes wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles.
  2. SIC 2007 Section H includes transport and storage.
  3. SIC 2007 Section I includes accommodation and food service activities.

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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 471,000 job vacancies in the three months to June 2012, up 10,000 on the three months to March 2012 and up 12,000 on a year earlier. There were 1.8 vacancies per 100 employee jobs in the three months to June 2012, virtually unchanged on the previous quarter and on the year.

Vacancies, seasonally adjusted

Vacancies Chart, July 2012
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

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

One indication of the reliability of the key indicators in this Statistical Bulletin can be obtained by monitoring the size of revisions.� Data tables EMP17 (531.5 Kb Excel sheet) , UNEM04 (1.46 Mb Excel sheet) , JOBS05 (331.5 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA04 (1.45 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).

Sampling variability and seasonal adjustment

Sampling variability

Data table A11 (63.5 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. There are no major developments in this month�s Statistical Bulletin.

  2. There will be revisions to all labour market statistics derived from the Labour Force Survey, including estimates of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity, back to June to August 2009 resulting from taking on board the population estimates published in 2011 and from a review of the seasonal adjustment process.

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

  4. Publication dates up to the end of 2013 are available in the Background Notes to the June 2012 edition of this Statistical Bulletin. A list of the job titles of those given pre-publication access (34.7 Kb Pdf) to the contents of this Statistical Bulletin is available on the website.

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

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

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

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

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

Statistical contacts

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