Other commentary from the latest labour market data can be found on the following pages:
November 2022 to January 2023 estimates show an increase in the employment rate compared with the previous three-month period (August to October 2022) and a decrease in the economic inactivity rate, while the unemployment rate remained largely unchanged.
Total hours worked increased compared with the previous three-month period, but remain below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels.
The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.7%, 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period and 0.8 percentage points lower than before the pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020).
The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.7%, this is largely unchanged compared with the previous three-month period and 0.3 percentage points below pre-pandemic levels.
The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 21.3%, 0.2 percentage points lower than the previous three-month period and 1.1 percentage points higher than before the pandemic.
|Level or Rate||Change on|
to February 2020
16 to 64 years)
aged 16 to 64
(aged 16 to
Download this table Table 1: November 2022 to January 2023 headline measures and changes.xls .csv
Figure 1: November 2022 to January 2023 estimates show an increase in the employment rate and a decrease in the economic inactivity rate while the unemployment rate remains largely unchanged
UK employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates, seasonally adjusted, between November 2007 to January 2008 and November 2022 to January 2023
Download the data
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 coronavirus pandemic (Figure 2).
In the latest three-month period, the increase in the employment rate and the decrease in economic inactivity rate were driven by men.
Back to table of contents
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 are still above pre-pandemic levels. Part-time employees had generally been decreasing since the beginning of 2022; however, they saw an increase during the latest three-month period.
The number of self-employed workers fell in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic; however, both full-time and part-time self-employed workers have increased in the latest three-month period (Figure 3).
The number of people in employment with second jobs fell in the early stages of the pandemic. It has been steadily increasing since then, but has fallen during the latest three-month period to 1.23 million (3.8% of people in employment).
Total actual weekly hours worked in the UK have been generally increasing since the relaxation of coronavirus lockdown measures. However, this was followed by a slight decrease since April to June 2022. In the latest three-month period, total actual weekly hours worked increased by 7.3 million hours to 1.04 billion hours in November 2022 to January 2023 (Figure 4). This is still 9.5 million hours below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels (December 2019 to February 2020).
The increase in the latest three-month period was largely among women, who remain above pre-pandemic levels. Total actual weekly hours worked by men also increased, but remain below pre-pandemic 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 the pandemic and increased in the latest three-month period. The actual weekly hours worked has 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.
Back to table of contents
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 was largely unchanged.
In the latest three-month period, the number of people unemployed for up to six months and from six to twelve months were largely unchanged compared with the previous three-month period. Meanwhile, those unemployed for over 12 months increased slightly in the latest period (Figure 5).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 November 2022 to January 2023 compared with the previous three-month period.
Increases in economic inactivity in the first year of the pandemic were largely driven by those aged 16 to 24 years, while more recent increases were largely among those aged 50 to 64 years. The decrease in the latest three-month period (November 2022 to January 2023) was largely among those aged 16 to 24 years.
The increase in economic inactivity since the start of the coronavirus pandemic was largely among those who were students and the long-term sick (Figure 7).
The decrease in economic inactivity during the latest three-month period (November to January 2023) was largely among those inactive because they were students or retired. This was slightly offset by increases in those inactive for other reasons, while those inactive because they were long-term sick increased to a record high.Back to table of contents
In November 2022 to January 2023, the number of people reporting redundancy in the three months prior to interview increased by 0.2 per thousand employees compared with the previous three-month period, to 3.3 per thousand employees (Figure 8). This is now similar to pre-pandemic levels.
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 March 2023
Employment, unemployment, 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 March 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 March 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 March 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 March 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 methodology.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, 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.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 following the benchmarking of Workforce Jobs.
Further information is available in our A guide to labour market statistics methodology.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1633 455400