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

Released: 14 November 2012 Download PDF

For July to September, 2012

  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.2 per cent, up 0.2 on April to June 2012 and up 1.0 on a year earlier. There were 29.58 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 100,000 on April to June 2012 and up 513,000 on a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 7.8 per cent of the economically active population, down 0.2 on April to June 2012 and down 0.4 on a year earlier. There were 2.51 million unemployed people, down 49,000 on April to June 2012 and down 110,000 on a year earlier.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.6 per cent, down 0.1 on April to June 2012 and down 0.7 on a year earlier. There were 9.07 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 25,000 on April to June 2012 and down 285,000 on a year earlier.
  • Total pay (including bonuses) rose by 1.8 per cent compared with July to September 2011. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.9 per cent compared with July to September 2011.

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. Most of the figures discussed in this Statistical Bulletin are obtained from surveys of households or businesses and are therefore estimates, not precise figures. See the Sampling Variability and Seasonal Adjustment section of this Bulletin for further details. This Statistical Bulletin is accompanied by data tables in spreadsheet format.

Regional estimates are available from the Regional Labour Market release.

New this month:

  • Labour Force Survey and Average Weekly Earnings estimates for July to September 2012.

  • Claimant count estimates for October 2012.

  • Vacancies estimates for August to October 2012.

  • Labour disputes estimates for September 2012. 

Summary of labour market statistics published on 14 November 2012

A short video explaining this story is available.

Between April to June 2012 and July to September 2012:

  • the number of people in full-time employment increased by 51,000,

  • the number of people in part-time employment increased by 49,000,

  • the number of unemployed people fell by 49,000, and

  • the number of economically inactive people, aged from 16 to 64, fell by 25,000.

Between July to September 2007 and July to September 2012: 

  • the number of people in full-time employment fell by 399,000,

  • the number of people in part-time employment increased by 713,000,

  • the number of unemployed people increased by 865,000, and

  • the number of economically inactive people, aged from 16 to 64, fell by 64,000.

Changes in number of people in the labour market between July to September 2007 and July to September 2012, seasonally adjusted

Changes over 5 years
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for July to September 2012 was 71.2 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points on April to June 2012 and up 1.0 on a year earlier. The employment rate of 71.2 per cent, for those aged from 16 to 64, is lower than the pre-recession peak of 73.0 per cent recorded for March to May 2008. The number of people in employment aged 16 and over increased by 100,000 between April to June and July to September 2012 to reach 29.58 million. This is the smallest quarterly increase in the number of people in employment since the increase of 82,000 between September to November 2011 and December 2011 to February 2012.

Quarterly changes in number of people in employment, seasonally adjusted

Quarterly employment changes
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The unemployment rate for July to September 2012 was 7.8 per cent of the economically active population, down 0.2 on April to June 2012 and down 0.4 on a year earlier. There were 2.51 million unemployed people in July to September 2012, down 49,000 from April to June 2012 and down 110,000 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed people aged from 16 to 24 fell by 49,000 between April to June and July to September 2012 to reach 963,000; this figure includes 315,000 unemployed young people in full-time education.

The economic inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for July to September 2012 was 22.6 per cent, down 0.1 on April to June 2012 and down 0.7 on a year earlier. The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 25,000 between April to June and July to September 2012 to reach 9.07 million. The number of people who were economically inactive due to long-term sickness fell by 83,000 between April to June and July to September 2012 to reach 2.04 million.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance increased by 10,100 between September and October 2012 to reach 1.58 million.

Between July to September 2011 and July to September 2012, total pay for employees in Great Britain rose by 1.8 per cent. 

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 12 September 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 71.2 per cent for July to September 2012, up 0.2 percentage points from April to June 2012 and up 1.0 from a year earlier.

Employment rate (aged 16 to 64), seasonally adjusted

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

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The employment rate for men aged from 16 to 64 was 76.5 per cent for July to September 2012, up 0.2 percentage points from April to June 2012. The corresponding employment rate for women was 66.0 per cent, up 0.2 from April to June 2012.

The number of people in employment was 29.58 million for July to September 2012, up 100,000 from April to June 2012 and up 513,000 on a year earlier. The number of people in full-time employment was 21.46 million for July to September 2012, up 51,000 from April to June 2012. The number of people in part-time employment was 8.12 million, up 49,000 from April to June 2012.

Between April to June 2012 and July to September 2012:

  • The number of employees increased by 87,000 to reach 25.11 million.

  • The number of self-employed people fell by 11,000 to reach 4.19 million.

  • The number of unpaid family workers increased by 3,000 to reach 112,000.

  • The number of people on government supported training and employment programmes classified as being in employment increased by 22,000 to reach 166,000.

Changes in people in employment between April to June 2012 and July to September 2012, seasonally adjusted

Changes in people in employment
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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Public and private sector employment (first published on 12 September 2012)

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.

The number of people employed in the public sector was 5.66 million in June 2012, down 235,000 from March 2012. The number of people employed in the private sector in June 2012 was 23.90 million, up 471,000 from March 2012. These large quarterly movements reflect the reclassification of some educational bodies from the public sector to the private sector. See Background Notes to the September 2012 Statistical Bulletin for further details. Excluding this reclassification, the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 39,000 between March and June and the number of people employed by the private sector increased by 275,000. Further information on public sector employment is available in the Public Sector Employment Statistical Bulletin published on 12 September 2012.

Changes in number of people employed in public and private sectors between March and June 2012, seasonally adjusted

Public and private sector
Source: Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey, Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Employment by country of birth and nationality, not seasonally adjusted

ONS publishes estimates of employment by both nationality and by country of birth. 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 27.07 million for July to September 2012, up 455,000 from a year earlier. The number of non-UK nationals in employment was 2.62 million, up 75,000 from a year earlier.

The number of UK born people in employment was 25.42 million for July to September 2012, up 317,000 from a year earlier. The number of non-UK born people in employment was 4.27 million, up 208,000 from a year earlier.

Employment by country of birth and nationality, changes between July to September 2011 and July to September 2012, not seasonally adjusted

Employment by country of birth and nationality
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 945.3 million for July to September 2012, up 10.6 million from April to June 2012 and up 23.8 million on a year earlier. Average weekly hours worked for July to September 2012 were 32.0, up 0.3 from April to June 2012 and up 0.2 from a year earlier. The estimates for total hours worked and average hours worked can be affected by the arrangement of public holidays. The quarterly increase in hours worked between April to June and July to September 2012 was affected by one more public holiday than usual in the April to June period (due to the Diamond Jubilee).

Total weekly hours, seasonally adjusted

Total weekly hours
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.

In September 2012:

  • Average total pay (including bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £471 per week.

  • Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £444 per week.

Between July to September 2011 and July to September 2012:

  • Total pay for employees in Great Britain rose by 1.8 per cent. This annual growth rate of 1.8 per cent was 0.1 percentage points higher than the growth rate in total pay between June to August 2011 and June to August 2012.

  • Regular pay for employees in Great Britain rose by 1.9 per cent. This annual growth rate of 1.9 per cent was 0.1 percentage points lower than the growth rate in regular pay between June to August 2011 and June to August 2012.

Between September 2011 and September 2012, the Consumer Prices Index increased by 2.2 per cent.

Whole economy average earnings and consumer prices annual growth rates

Earnings and prices
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. This chart shows monthly estimates for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) from September 2007 to September 2012 and three month average estimates for Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) from July to September 2007 and July to September 2012.
  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 July to September 2011 and July to September 2012:

  • Total pay in the private sector rose by 1.8 per cent, while regular pay rose by 1.9 per cent.

  • Total pay in the public sector rose by 2.2 per cent, while regular pay rose by 2.5 per cent.

  • Total pay in the public sector excluding financial services rose by 2.3 per cent, while regular pay rose by 2.4 per cent.

The public and private sector growth rates from June 2012 have been affected by the reclassification of English Further Education Corporations and Sixth Form College Corporations. From June 2012 onwards these educational bodies are classified to the private sector, but for earlier time periods they are classified to the public sector. ONS estimates that, if the reclassification had not occurred, the public sector single month growth rates from June 2012 onwards would be between 0.6 and 0.8 percentage points lower and the corresponding private sector growth rates would be between 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points higher. Further information regarding this reclassification is available in an article published on the website on 31 May, 2012.

Labour productivity (first published on 28 September 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 1.1 per cent between the first and second quarters of 2012. Whole economy unit labour costs increased by 0.3 per cent between these quarters. Further information is available in the Labour Productivity Statistical Bulletin published on 28 September 2012.

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

Productivity
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 September 2012, there were 10,000 working days lost from 12 stoppages. In the twelve months to September 2012, there were 1.25 million working days lost from 119 stoppages.

Working days lost cumulative 12 months totals, not seasonally adjusted

Working days lost
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 within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks 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 7.8 per cent for July to September 2012, down 0.2 percentage points from April to June 2012 and down 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
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The number of unemployed people was 2.51 million for July to September 2012, down 49,000 from April to June 2012 and down 110,000 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed men was 1.43 million for July to September 2012, down 39,000 from April to June 2012. The number of unemployed women was 1.09 million for July to September 2012, down 10,000 from April to June 2012.

For July to September 2012:

  • 1.17 million people had been unemployed for up to six months, down 12,000 from April to June,

  • 452,000 people had been unemployed for between six and twelve months, down 49,000 from April to June,

  • 894,000 people had been unemployed for over one year, up 12,000 from April to June, and

  • 443,000 people had been unemployed for over two years, up 21,000 from April to June.

Unemployment by duration for July to September 2012, seasonally adjusted

Unemployment by duration
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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The unemployment rate for the European Union (EU) was 10.6 per cent of the economically active population for September 2012. The EU country with the highest unemployment rate was Spain, at 25.8 per cent, and the EU country with the lowest unemployment rate was Austria, at 4.4 per cent. The unemployment rate for Japan was 4.2 per cent for September 2012. The unemployment rate for the United States was 7.9 per cent for October 2012.

Unemployment rates for the United Kingdom and the European Union, seasonally adjusted

UK and EU unemployment
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics, Eurostat

Notes:

  1. The unemployment rate for the UK is 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 from September 2007 to September 2012 and three month average estimates for the UK from July to September 2007 to July to September 2012.

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Young people in the labour market

For July to September 2012:

  • There were 3.69 million 16 to 24 year olds in employment, down 4,000 from April to June.

  • There were 2.61 million economically inactive 16 to 24 year olds (most of whom were in full-time education), up 40,000 from April to June.

  • There were 963,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds, down 49,000 from April to June.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds was 20.7 per cent for July to September 2012, down 0.8 percentage points from April to June. 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 648,000 unemployed 16 to 24 year olds for July to September 2012, down 65,000 from April to June. The corresponding unemployment rate was 18.7 per cent of the economically active population for 16 to 24 year olds not in FTE, down 1.6 percentage points from April to June.

Young people (aged 16 to 24) in the labour market for July to September 2012, seasonally adjusted

Young people
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 Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and differs from unemployment (which measures people who meet the internationally agreed definition of unemployment). The claimant count for October 2012 was 1.58 million, up 10,100 from September 2012 but down 10,900 from a year earlier. The claimant count rate was 4.8 per cent, virtually unchanged from September 2012 and from a year earlier.

Claimant count, seasonally adjusted

Claimant count
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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In October 2012, excluding a small number of clerically processed claims for which an age breakdown is not available, there were:

  • 435,900 people aged from 18 to 24 claiming JSA, down 1,500 from September 2012,

  • 886,500 people aged from 25 to 49 claiming JSA, up 9,300 from September 2012, and

  • 256,600 people aged 50 and over claiming JSA, up 2,400 from September 2012.

JSA claimants (excluding clerical claims) by age and sex for October 2012, seasonally adjusted

JSA by age and sex
Source: Office for National Statistics, Work and Pensions

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The claimant count can be affected by changes to the overall benefits system. For example, since 24 November 2008 several changes in the eligibility rules for Lone Parent Income Support (LPIS) have 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. This has affected the claimant count since December 2008. The number of lone parents claiming JSA in Great Britain (not seasonally adjusted) increased from 9,300 in November 2008 to 143,600 in September 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.

The claimant count for people claiming benefits for longer durations has also been affected by the introduction of the Work Programme in June 2011.  Previous employment initiatives saw a break in individual's JSA claims, leading to an individual having a succession of shorter duration claims. Under the Work Programme individuals are more likely to remain on JSA for a single unbroken duration.

The claimant count will be affected by the planned introduction of Universal Credit in October 2013. ONS has launched a consultation on the measurement of the claimant count following the introduction of Universal Credit. The consultation runs until 23 November 2012.

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 fewer 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 48,000 and the claimant count fell by 20,000, between April to June 2012 and July to September 2012.

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

Unemployment and the claimant count
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 22.6 per cent for July to September 2012, down 0.1 percentage points from April to June 2012 and down 0.7 from a year earlier. There were 9.07 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 25,000 from April to June 2012 and down 285,000 from a year earlier.

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

Economic inactivity rate
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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For July to September 2012:

  • There were 2.23 million economically inactive students aged from 16 to 64, up 58,000 from April to June but down 57,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 2.04 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive due to long-term sickness, down 83,000 from April to June and down 122,000 from a year earlier.

  • There were 1.43 million economically inactive people who had retired before reaching the age of 65, down 28,000 from April to June and down 127,000 from a year earlier.

The fall in the number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 in the retired category 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.

Economic inactivity by reason (aged 16 to 64) for July to September 2012, seasonally adjusted

Economic inactivity by reason
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. For July to September 2012, 128,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, down 22,000 from April to June 2012 and down 19,000 from a year earlier. The redundancy rate was 5.1 per 1,000 employees, down 0.9 from April to June 2012 and down 0.7 from a year earlier.

Redundancies, seasonally adjusted

Redundancies
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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Jobs (first published on 12 September 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 12 September 2012. There were 31.94 million workforce jobs in June 2012, up 93,000 from March 2012 and up 708,000 from a year earlier. The sector showing the largest increase in jobs between March and June 2012 was professional, scientific and technical activities which increased by 87,000 to reach 2.56 million. The sector showing the largest fall in jobs over this period was human health and social work activities which fell by 60,000 to reach 4.00 million.

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

Workforce jobs
Source: 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. There were 479,000 job vacancies for August to October 2012, up 1,000 from May to July 2012 and up 16,000 on a year earlier. There were 1.8 vacancies per 100 employee jobs for August to October 2012, unchanged from May to July 2012 but up 0.1 on a year earlier.

Vacancies, seasonally adjusted

Vacancies
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 current 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 (598 Kb Excel sheet) , UNEM04 (1.53 Mb Excel sheet) , JOBS06 (337 Kb Excel sheet) and CLA04 (1.56 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. This month’s Statistical Bulletin

    There are no new estimates for key out of work benefits published in this month’s release. Up until now, these estimates were updated four times a year in February, May, August and November with a six month time lag, so estimates for February 2012 were published in August 2012. In 2013, the estimates will be published twice a year; estimates for August 2012 will be published in February 2013 and estimates for February 2013 will be published in August 2013. As these estimates will now only be updated twice a year, they have been removed from the pdf version of this Statistical Bulletin and from Data Table A01 (2.51 Mb ZIP) . However the estimates continue to be available at Data Table BEN01 (62.5 Kb Excel sheet) and from NOMIS®.

  2. Next month’s Statistical Bulletin

    There will be revisions to estimates of public sector employment statistics back to the start of the time series in 1999. These revisions will take account of late information, updates to seasonal factors, and re-referencing of survey estimates. In addition to these routine revisions (which occur every year in December) there will be further revisions, back to 2002, resulting from an improved method of estimating the number of people employed in public sector education in England.

  3. Special Events: Olympics and Paralympics

    The Olympics took place from 27 July to 12 August 2012 (with a few events starting on 25 July). The Paralympics took place from 29 August to 9 September 2012. For most economic statistics, any direct effect of the Olympics will be mainly seen in the August estimates. Some July estimates may also be affected, particularly:

    • changes to travel patterns,

    • additional short-term employment connected with the Olympics,

    • inclusion of a proportion of ticket receipts in output and overseas trade.

    Wider effects, for example if the presence of the Olympics has influenced the number of non-Olympics tourist visits, may affect any of the summer months.

    This commentary is intended to help users to interpret the statistics in the light of events. As explained in ONS’s Special Events policy, it is not possible to make an estimate of the effect of the Olympics and Paralympics on particular series only on the basis of information collected in those series. More details of how certain series are affected are available in an Information Note

  4. Publication policy

    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 (35 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 and Benefits bob.watson@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Emily Carless +44 (0)1633 455717 Workforce Jobs, Public Sector Employment and Vacancies 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 .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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