Welcome to the latest on the UK Labour Market, covering the period January to March 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 15,000 compared with the previous three months. Looking at the unemployment rate, 7.8% of the labour force aged 16 and over could not find a job.
If we break down these 2.52 million people by the duration of their unemployment we see that almost 1 in every 5, or 18% had been looking for work for over 2 years. However, we also see that just under half, or 47%, had only been out of work for up to 6 months.
Turning our attention to employment, there were 29.71 million people aged 16 and over in work, this was a fall of 43,000 on the previous three months and 71.4% of people aged 16 to 64 were employed.
Moving down to look at job vacancies, 503,000 job vacancies were recorded between February and April 2013. This is the highest since the end of 2008.
Now looking at those not in the labour force, known as economically inactive, 9 million people aged between 16 and 64 were either not looking for work or not available to work, a rise of 47,000 compared with the previous 3 months. Breaking this increase down, there was a rise for men, but the number of inactive women fell, with a continuing fall in the number of women looking after the family or home.
Moving up and looking at the claimant count for April 2013, there were 1.52 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 7,300 from the figure reported for March 2013 and around two thirds of all claimants were men.
If we now go back to employment, and look in a little more detail, this month at average weekly earnings, we see that in March 2013 the average level of weekly wages excluding bonuses was £444 while the average level of weekly wages including bonuses was £19 higher at £463.
Focusing now on the difference in annual growth rates, the annual growth in wages excluding bonuses was at 0.8% while the annual growth in wages including bonuses was lower, at 0.4%. The low growth in wages including bonuses is partially explained by some businesses reporting that bonuses that would normally be paid in March are expected to be paid later.
Looking at this chart comparing annual growth rates in wages including and excluding bonuses since 2001 we see that only wages including bonuses have experienced negative growth over this time period. This was following a large dip in bonuses after the 2008/2009 recession. Annual growth in wages excluding bonuses has remained positive but it has still been low with this month’s figure of 0.8% being the lowest since comparable records began in 2001.
And that was the latest on the UK labour market.