Welcome to the latest on the UK Labour Market, covering the period November 2012 to January 2013.
Focusing firstly on unemployment, there were 2.52 million people aged 16 or over who were out of work but seeking and available to work, a rise of 7000 compared with the previous three months. Looking at the unemployment rate, 7.8% of labour force aged 16 and over could not find a job. If we now look at this chart that shows the unemployment rate from 1971 onwards, to put the 7.8% into a historical context we can see the highest rate was 11.9% following the 1980s recession and the lowest rate was 3.4% in the 1970s.
Next looking at the claimant count for February 2013, there were 1.54 million people aged 18 and over who were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is a benefit related to looking for work. This was a fall of 1,500 from January 2013.
Turning our attention to employment, there were 29.73 million people aged 16 and over in work, this was a rise of 131 000 on the previous three months and 71.5% of people aged 16 to 64 were employed.
Looking at those not in the labour force, known as economically inactive, 8.95 million people aged between 16 and 64 were either not looking for work or not available to work, a fall of 118,000 and a fall in this number can increase the labour force. Some people may find jobs and some may start seeking work and move into unemployment and so a fall in those not in the labour force can explain how employment and unemployment can rise at the same time.
Now if we go back to employment, and look in a little more detail, this month at employment in the UK Public sector, there were 5.7 million people working in the public sector in the UK in December 2012 accounting for 19.2% of all people in employment. The top 3 public sector employers in terms of numbers, were the NHS, Education and public administration.
If we look at this chart we can see the change in public sector employment numbers since 2000 and it was generally rising up until around 2005 but between 2008 and 2009 there was a sharp rise due to the movement of some banks into the public sector following the financial crisis. More recently we have seen a large fall in the number at the start of 2012 as some English colleges were reclassified out of the public sector due to administration changes. Looking more closely at the number since 2010, we can see a decline in the number working in the public sector with the two orange bars showing the period of the English college reclassification. If we fade on these grey bars that show public sector employment employees excluding any that were employed in the aforementioned English colleges, we can see a gradual decline.
That was the latest on the UK labour market.