Other commentary from the latest labour market data can be found on the following pages:
October to December 2022 estimates show an increase in the employment and unemployment rates compared with the previous three-month period (July to September 2022) and a decrease in the economic inactivity rate.
Total hours worked decreased compared with the previous three-month period and remain below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels.
The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.6%, 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period and 0.9 percentage points lower than before the pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020).
The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.7%, 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period and 0.2 percentage points below pre-coronavirus levels.
The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 21.4%, 0.3 percentage points lower than the previous three-month period and 1.2 percentage points higher than before the pandemic.
|Level or Rate||Change on|
to February 2020
16 to 64
16 to 64
to 64 years)
Download this table Table 1: October to December 2022 headline measures and changes.xls .csv
Figure 1: There was an increase in the employment and unemployment rates and a decrease in the economic inactivity rate, in October to December 2022 estimates
UK employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity rates, seasonally adjusted, between October to December 2007 and October to December 2022
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Flows estimates show that, between July to September 2022 and October to December 2022, there was a record-high net flow out of economic inactivity (Figure 2). This was driven by people moving from economic inactivity to employment, with 62% of the inflows to employment coming from economic inactivity.
Additionally, job-to-job flows remain high but have fallen from their recent peak. While resignations continue to drive job-to-job flows, the number of dismissals has increased from the lows seen in early 2022.
Figure 2: There was a record-high movement of people out of economic inactivity between July to September 2022 and October to December 2022
UK flows between employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity, people aged 16 to 64 years, seasonally adjusted, July to September 2022 and October to December 2022
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During the first year of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was a decrease in the employment rate and increases in the economic inactivity and unemployment rates for both men and women. However, the unemployment rates for both men and women have now returned to levels similar to those seen before the pandemic (Figure 3).
In the latest three-month period, the increase in the employment rate was largely driven by women while the increase in the unemployment rate was largely driven by men. The decrease in the economic inactivity rate in the latest three-month period were driven by both men and women.
More about economy, business and jobs
Following an increase in the employment rate since early 2012, the rate decreased from the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There has largely been an increase since the end of 2020, and the employment rate increased during the latest three-month period.
The number of full-time employees decreased during the latest three-month period but is still above pre-coronavirus levels. The number of part-time employees had generally been decreasing since the beginning of 2022; however, they saw the largest increase since September to November 2021 during the latest three-month period. The number of self-employed workers fell in the first year of the pandemic and, while the full-time self-employed have remained low, the part-time self-employed increased during the latest three-month period (Figure 4).
The number of people in employment with second jobs fell in the early stages of the pandemic (Figure 5). It has been steadily increasing since, but has fallen during the latest three-month period to 1.22 million (3.7% of people in employment).
Total actual weekly hours worked in the UK have been generally increasing since the relaxation of coronavirus lockdown measures. However, compared with the previous three-month period, total actual weekly hours worked decreased by 2.9 million hours to 1.04 billion hours in October to December 2022 (Figure 6). This is 16.6 million hours below pre-coronavirus levels (December 2019 to February 2020).
The decrease in the latest three-month period was driven by men, whose actual weekly hours worked remain below pre-coronavirus levels. The total actual weekly hours worked by women increased and remain above pre-coronavirus levels.
After falling sharply in the early stages of the pandemic, average actual weekly hours worked have now returned to levels similar to those seen before coronavirus, although they fell in the latest three-month period. The actual weekly hours worked have recently been affected by additional bank holidays in the summer and autumn, and strikes in recent periods. The shortfall in total actual weekly hours compared with pre-coronavirus levels is therefore largely the result of fewer people in employment.
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The unemployment rate had generally been falling since late 2013 until the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It increased until the end of 2020 but has now returned to pre-coronavirus levels. Over the latest three-month period, the unemployment rate increased.
In the latest three-month period, the number of people unemployed for up to six months increased, driven by those aged 16 to 24 years. Those unemployed for over six and up to 12 months also increased, while those unemployed for over 12 months decreased in the recent period (Figure 7).Back to table of contents
Since comparable records began in 1971, the economic inactivity rate had generally been falling; however, it increased during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It decreased in October to December 2022 compared with the previous three-month period.
Recent increases in economic inactivity were driven by those aged 50 to 64 years, with over 61% of the increase in economic inactivity during the pandemic (since December 2019 to February 2020) being driven by this age group. More detail on this trend is available in our article Movements out of work for those aged over 50 years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, published 14 March 2022.
Increases in economic inactivity in the first year of the pandemic were largely driven by those aged 16 to 24 years. This group has also increased in recent periods, following large falls in early 2021. However, those aged 16 to 24 years drove the decrease in economic inactivity in the latest three-month period (October to December 2022).
The increase in economic inactivity since the start of the pandemic had been driven by those who were students and the long-term sick (Figure 9).
The decrease in economic inactivity during the latest three-month period (October to December 2022) was driven by those inactive because they were students, retired or long-term sick.Back to table of contents
In October to December 2022, the number of people reporting redundancy in the three months before interview increased by 0.8 per thousand employees compared with the previous three-month period, to 3.5 per thousand employees (Figure 10).
We are now also publishing a table showing potential redundancies, covering those notified by employers to the Insolvency Service through the HR1 form, broken down by region and industry.Back to table of contents
Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity by age group (seasonally adjusted)
Dataset A05 SA | Released 14 February 2023
Employment, unemployment and economic activity and inactivity by age group (seasonally adjusted). These estimates are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, a survey of households.
Full-time, part-time and temporary workers (seasonally adjusted)
Dataset EMP01 SA | Released 14 February 2023
Full-time, part-time and temporary workers (seasonally adjusted). These estimates are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, a survey of households.
Actual weekly hours worked (seasonally adjusted)
Dataset HOUR01 SA | Released 14 February 2023
Actual weekly hours worked (seasonally adjusted). These estimates are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, a survey of households.
Unemployment by age and duration (seasonally adjusted)
Dataset UNEM01 SA | Released 14 February 2023
Unemployment by age and duration (seasonally adjusted). These estimates are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, a survey of households.
Economic inactivity by reason (seasonally adjusted)
Dataset INAC01 SA | Released 14 February 2023
Economic inactivity (aged 16 to 64 years) by reason (seasonally adjusted). These estimates are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, a survey of households.
Impact of LFS reweighting on key Labour Force Survey indicators
Dataset X08 | Released 14 June 2022
Estimates of key LFS indicators using both old and new weighting methodology, and the revisions between the two series.
Actual and usual hours worked
Statistics for usual hours worked measure how many hours people usually work per week. Compared with actual hours worked, they are not affected by absences and so can provide a better measure of normal working patterns. For example, a person who usually works 37 hours a week but who was on holiday for a week would be recorded as working zero actual hours for that week, while usual hours would be recorded as 37 hours.
Workers temporarily absent from a job as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic would still be classed as employed; however, they would be employed working no hours. This has directly affected estimates of total actual hours worked during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the average actual weekly hours are the average of all in employment, those temporarily absent from a job also affected these estimates.
The Claimant Count is an Experimental Statistic that measures the number of people who are receiving a benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed. Currently the Claimant Count consists of those receiving Jobseekers' Allowance, and Universal Credit claimants in the "searching for work" conditionality group.
People not in the labour force (also known as economically inactive) 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 are unable to start work in the next two weeks. The economic inactivity rate is the proportion of people aged between 16 and 64 years who are not in the labour force.
Employment measures the number of people in paid work or who had a job that they were temporarily away from (for example, because they were on holiday or off sick). This differs from the number of jobs because some people have more than one job. The employment rate is the proportion of people aged between 16 and 64 years who are in employment.
Workers furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or those who were self-employed but temporarily not in work, had a reasonable expectation of returning to their jobs after a temporary period of absence. Therefore, they were classified as employed under the International Labour Organization (ILO) definition.
A more detailed explanation is available in our Guide to labour market statistics.
The redundancy estimates measure the number of people who were made redundant or who took voluntary redundancy in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews; it does not take into consideration planned redundancies.
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. The unemployment rate is not the proportion of the total population that is unemployed. It is the proportion of the economically active population (that is, those in work plus those seeking and available to work) that is unemployed.
A more detailed glossary is available.Back to table of contents
This bulletin relies on data collected from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the largest household survey in the UK.
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our LFS Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report.
The LFS performance and quality monitoring reports provide data on response rates and other quality-related issues for the LFS.
Making our published spreadsheets accessible
Following the Government Statistical Service (GSS) guidance on releasing statistics in spreadsheets, we will be amending our published tables over the coming months to improve usability, accessibility and machine readability of our published statistics. To help users change to the new formats, we will be publishing sample versions of a selection of our tables, and where practical, initially publish the tables in both the new and current formats. If you have any questions or comments, please email email@example.com.
Occupational data in ONS surveys
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has identified an issue with the collection of some occupational data in a number of our surveys, including the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS), which are used in the production of the labour market publication. While we estimate any impacts will be small overall, this will affect the accuracy of the breakdowns of some detailed (four-digit Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC)) occupations, and data derived from them.
On 26 September 2022, we published an article based on initial analysis of the potential impact on different four-digit SOC codes. We advise to continue exercising caution in the use of detailed SOC breakdowns until the issue has been corrected.
Labour market transformation
We have published an article providing an update on the transformation of labour market statistics. We welcome your feedback on this latest update and our plans. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you think.Back to table of contents
Uncertainty in these data
The estimates presented in this bulletin contain uncertainty.
The figures in this bulletin come from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which gathers information from a sample of households across the UK rather than from the whole population. The sample is designed to be as accurate as possible, given practical limitations. Results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This can have an impact on how changes in the estimates should be interpreted, especially for short-term comparisons.
As the sample gets smaller, the variability of the estimates gets larger. Estimates for small groups, which are based on small subsets of the LFS sample, are less reliable and tend to be more volatile than for larger aggregated groups.
In general, changes in the numbers (and especially the rates) reported in this bulletin between three-month periods are small and are not usually greater than the level that can be explained by sampling variability. Short-term movements in reported rates should be considered alongside longer-term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in other sources to give a fuller picture.
Information on the quality of estimates is available in our Labour Force Survey sampling variability table.
The data in this bulletin follow internationally accepted definitions specified by the International Labour Organization (ILO). This ensures that the estimates for the UK are comparable with those for other countries.
Our annual reconciliation report of job estimates article compares the latest workforce jobs series estimates with the equivalent estimates of jobs from the LFS. It is usually published in March each year following the benchmarking of Workforce Jobs. The 2022 article was postponed to October to allow for the reweighting of the data.
Further information is available in A guide to labour market statistics.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1633 455400