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Video Summary: Latest on the Labour Market, July 2012

Released: 18 July 2012

This is a transcript of the video podcast which can be viewed at

Slide 1

This is a short video looking at the latest on the UK labour market in July 2012.

Slide 2

It will cover March to May 2012, compared to December to February 2012.

We will show the level and the rate, and unemployment was down 65,000 to 2.58 million, with a rate of 8.1 per cent.

Employment for everyone aged 16 and over was 29.35 million, up 181,000, and 70.7 per cent of people aged 16 to 64 were in work. Inactivity was 9.21 million, down 61,000, and around 22.9 per cent of people aged 16 to 64 were inactive.

Finally, the claimant count, a count of people claiming benefits related to looking for work, in June 2012, was up 6,000 on May 2012 to stand at 1.60 million. And the claimant count rate stood at 4.9 per cent.

Slide 3

This month we will focus on employment and how things have changed over the past 40 years using this chart.

The left hand scale here will show the number of workers aged 16 to 64 in the UK over the period and here is the line. Now the right hand scale will look at the percentage of the 16 to 64 population that were in work, known as the employment rate, and here is the line.

What we can see is that at the start of 1971 there were 24.2 million people in employment and this represented 72.2 per cent of the population. For the most recent estimates in 2012 there were 28.4 million people in employment and 70.7 per cent were in employment.

The reason the number in employment has gone while the percentage in employment is slightly lower is because the population has increased. In 1971 there were around 33.6 million people aged 16 to 64 and this was around 6 and a half million higher in 2012.

One interesting change over the past 40 years is seen if we look at men and women. In 1971 of those who were working around 63 per cent were men and 37 per cent were women.

Now with a shift towards more women working over the past 40 years in 2012 of those in work, 53 per cent were men and 47 were women.

Slide 4

If we remove some of the information and look at some highlights over the past 40 years we can see that for the employment level the highest was in March to May of 2008, just before the onset of the recent financial crisis within the UK and employment stood at 28.9 million.

The lowest employment level over the past 40 years was in various months within 1983 following the 1980s recession at around 23.2 million.

Now looking at the employment rate we can see that the highest was in various months in 1974 but also towards the end of 2005 and start of 2006 at around 73.1 per cent.

Finally as with the level the lowest employment rate was in various months through 1983, where it stood at 65.6 per cent.

Slide 5

Finally this month we will focus on the most recent period which is March to May 2012, and look at how employment varies across the UK and we will use this map. If we split the country up and shade the regions from the lowest to highest employment rates we can see that the North East of England has the lowest rate.

These six regions then have the next lowest employment rates and then Scotland. The East Midlands and South West are now shaded before showing the highest employment rates which are in the South East and East of England.

We can see the actual ranking and the rates using this chart which is put in order. If we plot a line showing the UK average we can see that there are five regions above the average and seven regions below.



Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Further information is available in the Labour Market Statistics, July 2012 Statistical Bulletin and the data tables.

  2. A number of video stories relating to labour market statistics are available from NOMIS®.

  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

    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.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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