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

Released: 19 March 2014 Download PDF

Key points

  • Latest estimates show that the number of people in employment continued to increase. Unemployment continued to fall, as did the number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64. These changes continue the general direction of movement over the past two years.
  • Employment was up 105,000 from August to October 2013 and up 459,000 on the year to 30.19 million for November 2013 to January 2014.
  • The increase in employment between August to October 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014 was due to more self-employed people; the number of employees fell over this period.
  • Employment rate was 72.3% (for people aged from 16 to 64) for November 2013 to January 2014, up from 72.0% for August to October 2013 and from 71.5% the previous year.
  • Unemployment was down 63,000 from August to October 2013 and down 191,000 on the year to 2.33 million for November 2013 to January 2014.
  • Unemployment rate was 7.2% of the labour force (those unemployed plus those employed) for November 2013 to January 2014, down from 7.4% for August to October 2013 and from 7.8% the previous year.
  • The unemployment rate is the same as the figure of 7.2% for October to December 2013 published last month. However it is not directly comparable with that figure, as the Labour Force Survey is not designed to measure monthly changes.
  • Pay including bonuses for November 2013 to January 2014 was 1.4% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 1.3% higher.

In this Statistical Bulletin

This Statistical Bulletin contains the latest employment, unemployment and average earnings estimates for November 2013 to January 2014. It also includes estimates for the Claimant Count (which measures people claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed), other key out of work benefits, labour productivity, labour disputes, redundancies and vacancies.

Summary of latest Labour Market Statistics

Comparing November 2013 to January 2014 with August to October 2013, the number of people in employment increased by 105,000 (to 30.19 million), the number of unemployed people fell by 63,000 (to 2.33 million) and the number of people not in the labour force (economically inactive) aged from 16 to 64 fell by 19,000 (to 8.90 million).

Summary of latest Labour Market Statistics for November 2013 to January 2014, Seasonally Adjusted

  Number (thousands) Change on quarter Change on year Headline Rate (%) Change on quarter Change on year
             
Employed: 30,191 +105 +459
  Aged 16-64 29,151 +133 +384 72.3 0.2 0.7
  Aged 65+ 1,040 -28 +75
             
Unemployed: 2,326 -63 -191 7.2 -0.2 -0.7
  Aged 16-64 2,296 -68 -203
  Aged 65+ 30 +6 +13
             
Inactive: 18,605 +68 +136
  Aged 16-64 8,896 -19 -57 22.1 -0.1 -0.2
  Aged 65+ 9,708 +87 +193

Table notes:

  1. Calculation of headline employment rate: Number of employed people aged from 16 to 64 divided by the population aged from 16 to 64. Population is the sum of employed plus unemployed plus inactive.

  2. Calculation of headline unemployment rate: Number of unemployed people aged 16 and over divided by the sum of employed people aged 16 and over plus unemployed people aged 16 and over.

  3. Calculation of headline economic inactivity rate: Number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 divided by the population aged from 16 to 64. Population is the sum of employed plus unemployed plus inactive.

  4. Components may not sum exactly to totals due to rounding.

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Historical Context

For November 2013 to January 2014, 77.3% of men and 67.2% of women aged from 16 to 64 were in employment. For January to March 1971, the earliest period for which data exists, 92.1% of men and 52.8% of women aged from 16 to 64 were in employment. Chart 1 shows the employment rates for men and women aged from 16 to 64 since records began in 1971.

Chart 1: Employment rates (aged 16 to 64) from January-March 1971 to November 2013-January 2014, seasonally adjusted

Chart 1: Employment rates (aged 16 to 64) from January-March 1971 to November 2013-January 2014, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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For November 2013 to January 2014, the unemployment rate for men was 7.4% of the male labour force and the unemployment rate for women was 6.9% of the female labour force. Since records began in 1971, the highest unemployment rate for men was 12.7% in late 1992/early 1993 and the highest unemployment rate for women was 11.8% in mid-1984. Chart 2 shows the unemployment rates for men and women since records began in 1971.

Chart 2: Unemployment rates (aged 16 and over) from January-March 1971 to November 2013-January 2014, seasonally adjusted

Chart 2: Unemployment rates (aged 16 and over) from January-March 1971 to November 2013-January 2014, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Understanding and working with Labour Market Statistics

Where to find explanatory information on the website

A short video explaining the basic labour market concepts of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity is available.

Interpreting Labour Market statistics, available on the website, is designed to help users interpret labour market statistics and highlight some common misunderstandings.

A more detailed Guide to Labour Market Statistics, which expands on “Interpreting Labour Market Statistics” and includes a Glossary , is also available.

About labour market statuses

Everybody aged 16 or over is either employed , unemployed or economically inactive . The employment estimates include all people in work including those working part-time. People not working are classed as unemployed if they have been looking for work within the last four weeks and are able to start work within the next two weeks.

A common misconception is that the unemployment statistics are a count of people on benefits; this is not the case and they include unemployed people not claiming benefits. Jobless people who have not been looking for work within the last four weeks or who are unable to start work within the next two weeks are classed as economically inactive. Examples of economically inactive people include people not looking for work because they are students, looking after the family or home, because of illness or disability or because they have retired.

Making comparisons with earlier data

The most robust estimates of short-term movements in the labour market are obtained by comparing the estimates for November 2013 to January 2014 with the estimates for August to October 2013 first published on 18 December 2013. This provides a more robust estimate than comparing with the estimates for October to December 2013 published in last month’s Statistical Bulletin.  This is because the November and December data are included within both estimates, so effectively observed differences are those between the individual months of October 2013 and January 2014. The Labour Force Survey, from which these estimates are derived, is sampled such that it is representative of the UK population over a three month period, not for single month periods.

Accuracy and reliability of survey estimates

Most of the figures in this Statistical Bulletin come from surveys of households or businesses. Surveys gather information from a sample rather than from the whole population. The sample is designed carefully to allow for this, and to be as accurate as possible given practical limitations such as time and cost constraints, but results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This means that they are subject to a margin of error which can have an impact on how changes in the numbers should be interpreted, especially in the short-term.

Changes in the numbers reported in this Statistical Bulletin (and especially the rates) between three month periods are usually not greater than the margin of error.  In practice, this means that small, short term movements in reported rates (for example within +/- 0.3 percentage points) should be treated as indicative, and considered alongside medium and long term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in administrative sources, where available, to give a fuller picture.

Further information is available in the Accuracy of the Statistics: Estimating and Reporting Uncertainty section of this Statistical Bulletin.

Seasonal adjustment

All estimates discussed in this Statistical Bulletin are seasonally adjusted except where otherwise stated. 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.

 

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 (1.41 Mb Excel sheet) and EMP01 (1.31 Mb Excel sheet) .

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 72.3% for November 2013 to January 2014, up 0.2 percentage points from August to October 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 77.3% for November 2013 to January 2014, up 0.3 percentage points from August to October 2013. The corresponding employment rate for women was 67.2%, up 0.2 percentage points from August to October 2013.

There were 30.19 million people aged 16 and over in employment for November 2013 to January 2014, up 105,000 from August to October 2013 and up 459,000 on a year earlier. Between August to October 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014, as shown in Chart 4:

  • The number of men working full-time, increased by 92,000 to reach 14.03 million.

  • The number of men working part-time, fell by 7,000 to reach 2.16 million.

  • The number of women working full-time increased by 73,000 to reach 8.08 million.

  • The number of women working part-time decreased by 53,000 to reach 5.92 million.

 

Chart 4: Changes in people in employment between August to October 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014, seasonally adjusted

Chart 4: Changes in people in employment between August to October 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Between August to October 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014:

  • the number of employees fell by 60,000 to reach 25.49 million,

  • the number of self-employed people increased by 211,000 to reach 4.46 million,

  • the number of unpaid family workers decreased by 7,000 to reach 108,000, 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 38,000 to reach 132,000. 

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

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 and 4(1) of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and at data tables EMP02  (70 Kb Excel sheet) and EMP03 (52.5 Kb Excel sheet) . Further information on public sector employment is available in the Public Sector Employment release.

The estimates of public sector employment for December 2013 have been affected by the reclassification of Royal Mail plc. Royal Mail plc is in the private sector from December 2013 but in the public sector for earlier time periods. See Background Notes for further details.

There were 5.51 million people employed in the public sector for December 2013, down 159,000 from September 2013 and down 203,000 from a year earlier. These large falls in public sector employment were mainly due to the reclassification of Royal Mail plc. Excluding the effects of this reclassification, public sector employment fell by 13,000 on the quarter and by 14,000 on the year.

There were 24.68 million people employed in the private sector for December 2013, up 264,000 from September 2013 and up 662,000 from a year earlier. These large increases in private sector employment were partly due to the reclassification of Royal Mail plc. Excluding the effects of this reclassification, private sector employment increased by 118,000 on the quarter and by 473,000 on the year.

For December 2013, 81.8% of people in employment worked in the private sector and the remaining 18.2% 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

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

  • 1.57 million people were employed in the National Health Service, up 13,000 from September 2013,

  • 1.07 million people were employed in public administration, down 11,000 from September 2013,

  • 1.52 million people were employed in education, up 8,000 from September 2013, and

  • 425,000 people were employed in HM Forces and the police, down 7,000 from September 2013.

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

Chart 6: Public sector employment by industry for December 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 19 February 2014)

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 (180.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Looking at the estimates by nationality, between October to December 2012 and October to December 2013:

  • the number of people in employment in the UK increased by 425,000 to reach 30.24 million,

  • the number of UK nationals in employment in the UK increased by 367,000 to reach 27.54 million, and

  • the number of non-UK nationals in employment in the UK increased by 54,000 to reach 2.70 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 October to December 2013, 4.46 million people in employment were born abroad, 1.76 million higher than the number of non-UK nationals in employment. Looking at the estimates by country of birth, between October to December 2012 and October to December 2013:

  • the number of people in employment in the UK increased by 425,000 to reach 30.24 million,

  • the number of UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 276,000 to reach 25.77 million, and

  • the number of non-UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 141,000 to reach 4.46 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 October to December 2012 and October to December 2013, not seasonally adjusted

Chart 7: Employment by nationality and country of birth, changes between October to December 2012 and October to December 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 (472.5 Kb Excel sheet) and HOUR02 (1.62 Mb Excel sheet) .

Total hours worked per week were 967.5 million for November 2013 to January 2014, up 0.9 million from August to October 2013 and up 18.8 million on a year earlier. Chart 8 shows total hours worked for the last five years. Average weekly hours worked for November 2013 to January 2014 were 32.1, down 0.1 hours from August to October 2013 but up 0.1 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)

Note: Publication of estimates for December 2013 has been postponed until next month’s release. The estimates described below were 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 (476.5 Kb Excel sheet) , EARN02 (518.5 Kb Excel sheet) and EARN03 (577.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

In January 2014:

  • Average total pay (including bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £479 per week.

  • Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £451 per week.

For November 2013 to January 2014, total pay for employees in Great Britain was 1.4% higher than a year earlier while regular pay was 1.3% higher. Between January 2013 and January 2014, the Consumer Prices Index increased by 1.9%. Prices therefore continued to increase by more than earnings but the gap has narrowed, as shown by Chart 10 which 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 January 2009 to January 2014 and three month average estimates for Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) from November 2008-January 2009 to November 2013-January 2014.
  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 November 2012 to January 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014:

  • For the private sector, total pay rose by 1.7%, while regular pay rose by 1.6%.

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

  • For the public sector excluding financial services, total pay rose by 0.9%, while regular pay rose by 1.1%.

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 April-June 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 (99 Kb Excel sheet) .

In January 2014, there were 8,000 working days lost from 15 stoppages. In the 12 months to January 2014, there were 447,000 working days lost from 119 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 (2.1 Mb Excel sheet) .

The unemployment rate was 7.2% for November 2013 to January 2014, down 0.2 percentage points from August to October 2013 and down 0.7 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 November 2013 to January 2014:

  • There were 2.33 million unemployed people, down 63,000 from August to October 2013  and down 191,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.29 million unemployed men, down 60,000 from August to October 2013 and down 141,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.04 million unemployed women, down 3,000 from August to October 2013 and down 49,000 from a year earlier.

Looking at unemployment by duration for November 2013 to January 2014, as shown in Chart 14:

  • 1.11 million people had been unemployed for up to six months, down 9,000 from August to October 2013 and down 74,000 from a year earlier.

  • 389,000 people had been unemployed for between six and twelve months, down 16,000 from August to October 2013 and down 58,000 from a year earlier.

  • 828,000 people had been unemployed for over one year, down 38,000 from August to October 2013 and down 59,000 from a year earlier.

  • 450,000 people had been unemployed for over two years, up 6,000 from August to October 2013 but down 1,000 from a year earlier.

Chart 14: Unemployment by duration for November 2013 to January 2014, seasonally adjusted

Chart 14: Unemployment by duration for November 2013 to January 2014, 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 (273.5 Kb Excel sheet) . The unemployment rate for the European Union (EU) was 10.8% of the economically active population for January 2014.

The EU countries with the highest unemployment rates were:

  • Greece at 28.0% for November 2013, and

  • Spain at 25.8% for January 2014.

The EU countries with the lowest unemployment rates were:

  • Austria at 4.9% for January 2014, and

  • Germany at 5.0% for January 2014.

These EU unemployment rates were published in a Eurostat News Release on 28 February 2014.

The unemployment rate for the United States was 6.6% for January 2014 and 6.7% for February 2014. 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 January 2009 to January 2014 and three month average estimates for the UK from November 2008-January 2009 to November 2013-January 2014.

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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 (2.32 Mb Excel sheet) .

Estimates for young people who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) for October to December 2013 were published on 27 February 2014. A report on Young People in the Labour Market was published on 5 March 2014.

For November 2013 to January 2014:

  • There were 3.69 million 16 to 24 year olds in employment (22% of whom were in full-time education), up 43,000 from August to October 2013.

  • There were 2.60 million economically inactive 16 to 24 year olds (74% of whom were in full-time education), down 20,000 from August to October 2013.

  • There were 912,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds (31% of whom were in full-time education), down 29,000 from August to October 2013.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 19.8% for November 2013 to January 2014, down 0.7 percentage points from August to October 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 628,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds for November 2013 to January 2014, down 16,000 from August to October 2013. The corresponding unemployment rate was 17.9% of the economically active population for 16 to 24 year olds not in FTE, down 0.6 percentage points from August to October 2013.

Chart 16: Young people (aged 16 to 24) in the labour market for November 2013 to January 2014, seasonally adjusted

Chart 16: Young people (aged 16 to 24) in the labour market for November 2013 to January 2014, 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 (300 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA02 (486.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

The Claimant Count for February 2014 was 1.17 million, down 34,600 from January 2014 and down 363,200 from a year earlier. Chart 17 shows the Claimant Count for the last five years. The Claimant Count rate for February 2014 was 3.5%, down 0.1 percentage points from January 2014 and down 1.1 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 February 2014, excluding a small number of clerically processed claims for which an age breakdown is not available, there were:

  • 295,000 people aged from 18 to 24 claiming JSA, down 9,900 from January 2014,

  • 660,500 people aged from 25 to 49 claiming JSA, down 20,500 from January 2014, and

  • 217,000 people aged 50 and over claiming JSA, down 4,500 from January 2014.

Chart 18: JSA claimants (excluding clerical claims) by age and sex for February 2014, seasonally adjusted

Chart 18: JSA claimants (excluding clerical claims) by age and sex for February 2014, 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 February 2014 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 August to October 2013 and November 2013 to January 2014:

  • unemployment fell by 65,000, and

  • the Claimant Count fell by 108,000.

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 (1.41 Mb Excel sheet) and INAC01 (2.58 Mb Excel sheet) .

The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.1% for November 2013 to January 2014, down 0.1 percentage points from August to October 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 8.90 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 for November 2013 to January 2014, down 19,000 from August to October 2013 and down 57,000 from a year earlier. Looking at economic inactivity (for people aged from 16 to 64) by reason for November 2013 to January 2014, as shown in Chart 21:

  • There were 2.26 million economically inactive students, down 22,000 from August to October 2013 but up 40,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 2.28 million people looking after the family or home, down 46,000 from August to October 2013 and down 34,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 2.02 million people who were economically inactive due to long-term sickness, up 57,000 from August to October 2013 but down 4,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.32 million economically inactive people who had retired before reaching the age of 65, down 9,000 from August to October 2013 and down 42,000 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 November 2013 to January 2014, seasonally adjusted

Chart 21: Economic inactivity by reason (aged 16 to 64) for November 2013 to January 2014, 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 (194 Kb Excel sheet) and RED02 (2.35 Mb Excel sheet) .

For November 2013 to January 2014, 117,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, down 2,000 from August to October 2013  and down 15,000 from a year earlier. Chart 22 shows the number of people made redundant for the last five years. The redundancy rate was 4.6 per 1,000 employees, down 0.1 from August to October 2013 and down 0.7 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 (109 Kb Excel sheet) and VACS03 (57.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

There were 588,000 job vacancies for December 2013 to February 2014, up 23,000 from September to November 2013 and up 92,000 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 December 2013 to February 2014, up 0.1 from September to November 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 19 February 2014)

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 August 2013:

  • There were 4.41 million people claiming key out of work benefits, down 318,200 from August 2012.

  • 11.1% of the population aged from 16 to 64 were claiming key out of work benefits, down 0.8 percentage points from August 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. Revisions to estimates derived from other sources are usually minor and are commented on in the Statistical Bulletin if this is not the case. 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 (907.5 Kb Excel sheet) , UNEM04 (1.89 Mb Excel sheet) , JOBS06 (363 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA03 (1.84 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).

Accuracy of the Statistics: Estimating and Reporting Uncertainty

Most of the figures in this Statistical Bulletin come from surveys of households or businesses. Surveys gather information from a sample rather than from the whole population.  The sample is designed carefully to allow for this, and to be as accurate as possible given practical limitations like time and cost constraints, but results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This means that they are subject to some uncertainty. This can have an impact on how changes in the estimates should be interpreted, especially for short term comparisons.

We can calculate the level of uncertainty (also called “sampling variability”) around a survey estimate by exploring how that estimate would change if we were to draw many survey samples for the same time period instead of just one. This allows us to define a range around the estimate (known as a “confidence interval”) and to state how likely it is in practice that the real value that the survey is trying to measure lies within that range. Confidence intervals are typically set up so that we can be 95% sure that the true value lies within the range – in which case we refer to a “95% confidence interval”.

For example, the unemployment rate for November 2013 to January 2014 was estimated to be 7.2%. This figure had a stated 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.2 percentage points. This means that we can be 95% certain that the true unemployment rate for November 2013 to January 2014 was between 7.0 and 7.4 per cent.  However, the best estimate from the survey was that the unemployment rate was 7.2 per cent.

The number of people unemployed for the same period was estimated at 2,326,000, with a stated confidence interval of +/- 81,000.  This means that we can be 95% sure that the true number of unemployed people was between 2,245,000 and 2,407,000.  Again, the best estimate from the survey was that the number of unemployed people was 2,326,000.

As well as calculating precision measures around the numbers and rates obtained from the survey, we can also calculate them for changes in the numbers.  For example, in November 2013 to January 2014, the estimated change in the number of unemployed people since the previous quarter was a fall of 63,000, with a confidence interval of +/- 89,000.  This means that we can be 95% certain the actual change in unemployment was somewhere between -152,000 and +26,000, with the best estimate at -63,000. 

Working with uncertain estimates

In general, changes in the numbers (and especially the rates) reported in this Statistical Bulletin between three month periods are small, and are not usually greater than the level that is explainable by sampling variability. In practice, this means that small, short term movements in reported rates (for example within +/- 0.3 percentage points) should be treated as indicative, and considered alongside medium and long term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in administrative sources, where available, to give a fuller picture.

Seasonal adjustment and uncertainty

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.

While seasonal adjustment is essential to allow for robust comparisons through time, it is not possible to estimate uncertainty measures for the seasonally adjusted series.

Where to find data about uncertainty and reliability

Data table A11 (48 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.

Sampling variability information for Average Weekly Earnings growth rates are available from the “Sampling Variability” worksheets within data tables EARN01 (476.5 Kb Excel sheet) and EARN03 (577.5 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  
    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 this month's Labour Market and Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletins, Royal Mail plc continues to be included in the public sector employment estimates up to September 2013, but it is not included in the estimates for December 2013. This has resulted 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 have been made to the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin:

    • At Table 4 of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin, series KX5M, KX5N, KX5O, KX5P and KSL8 (which appeared in previous editions of the Statistical Bulletin) have been discontinued and replaced by new series showing estimates of public and private sector employment excluding effects of major reclassifications. Corresponding changes have been made to the data table EMP02 (70 Kb Excel sheet) .

    • Table 4(2) of the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin (Public Sector Employment including and excluding Financial Corporations and Reclassified Educational Bodies), and the corresponding data table EMP04, have been discontinued. To maintain continuity of table numbering, data table EMP16 (Employment by Occupation) has been renumbered as data table EMP04.

    Similar changes have been made to the Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletin, published today.

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

  2. Next month’s release  
    There will be revisions to estimates of vacancies back to the start of the time series in 2001 resulting from the annual review of the seasonal adjustment process and taking on board the latest estimates of workforce jobs for the estimates of vacancies per 100 employee jobs.

  3. Labour disputes estimates  
    Following the publication by ONS of “Response to the Consultation on Statistical Products 2013” , ONS is currently considering whether it will be possible to continue publishing estimates of labour disputes.  

  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 19 March 2014, 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 3,780 people were claiming Universal Credit on 31 December 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 19 March 2014.

    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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