The number of vacancies in January to March 2023 was 1,105,000, which is a decrease of 47,000 from October to December 2022.
Vacancy numbers fell on the quarter for the ninth consecutive period in January to March 2023, down by 4.0% since October to December 2022, with vacancies falling in 13 of the 18 industry sectors.
In January to March 2023, total vacancies were down by 188,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 304,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.
In December 2022 to February 2023, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.2, which is up from the previous quarter (September to November 2022), as the number of vacancies continued to decrease.
In January to March 2023, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 47,000 on the quarter to 1,105,000, which is the ninth consecutive period to see a quarterly fall since May to July 2022.
The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages, which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in March 2023 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Section 8: Strengths and limitations of our March 2021 bulletin) in our X06: Single month vacancies estimates dataset, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates datasets.
The overall quarterly growth was negative 4.0% in January to March 2023, with vacancies declining in 13 of the 18 industry sectors. The industries showing the largest falls were real estate activities and mining and quarrying, at negative 20.1% and negative 16.7%, respectively.
January to March 2023 saw the number of vacancies fall on the quarter for the ninth consecutive period, decreasing by 47,000. The industry sectors displaying the largest falls in vacancy numbers were professional, scientific and technical activities, and wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, down on the quarter by 8,000 and 7,000, respectively. The industries which saw the largest growth on the quarter were administrative and support service activities and arts, entertainment and recreation, growing by 6,000 and 4,000, respectively.
The fall in the number of vacancies reflects uncertainty across industries, as survey respondents continue to cite economic pressures as a factor in holding back on recruitment.
When comparing January to March 2023 with the same time last year, total vacancies decreased by 188,000 (14.5%), with the largest falls in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, and information and communication, both of which were down by 27,000. However, the total number of vacancies remains 304,000 above the January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels, with human health and social work activities showing the largest increase, at 64,000.
In December 2022 to February 2023, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.2, up slightly from 1.1 in the previous quarter. While this ratio remains very low by historical standards, this quarterly increase suggests a slight easing of recent tightness in the labour market, following consecutive falls in vacancy numbers and slight increases in the number of unemployed people.
For the second consecutive period, the only quarterly growth in the number of vacancies was in the 10 to 49 size band.Back to table of contents
Our estimated number of workforce jobs for December 2022 (next updated June 2023) was a record high of 36.4 million, an increase of 211,000 jobs since September 2022 and an increase of 744,000 since December 2019.
The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with both components increasing in the quarter to December 2022. Employee jobs in December 2022 were at a record high of nearly 32 million, 1.25 million above their December 2019 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level. However, this rate of growth has not been seen in the self-employment jobs, which remain 536,000 below December 2019 levels. The growth in the employee jobs component of workforce jobs up to December 2022 can also be seen in the number of pay-rolled employees reported in the Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted dataset, which had increased every month since February 2021.
Across industries, the recovery has varied, with 9 of the 20 sectors still below their pre-coronavirus pandemic levels in December 2022. The sectors showing a large number of job losses, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, and construction, have been offset by large gains in human health and social work; professional, scientific and technical activities; and transport and storage.Back to table of contents
Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 18 April 2023
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).
Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 14 March 2023
Estimates of jobs by type of job (including employee jobs, self-employment jobs, HM Forces and government-supported trainees).
Workforce jobs by industry
Dataset JOBS02 | Released 14 March 2023
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).
X06: Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 18 April 2023
Single Month Vacancy Survey estimates, not seasonally adjusted
Vacancies are defined as positions for which employers are actively seeking recruits from outside their business or organisation. The estimates are based on the Vacancy Survey; this is a survey of employers designed to provide estimates of the stock of vacancies across the economy, excluding agriculture, forestry and fishing (a small sector for which the collection of estimates would not be practical).
A job is an activity performed for an employer or customer by a worker in exchange for payment, usually in cash, or in kind, or both. The number of jobs is not the same as the number of people in employment. This is because a person can have more than one job. The number of jobs is the sum of employee jobs from employer surveys, self-employment jobs from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), those in HM Forces and government-supported trainees. The number of people in employment is measured by the LFS; these estimates are available in our Employment in the UK release.
A more detailed glossary is available.Back to table of contents
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.
For more information about how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see our Coronavirus and the effects on UK labour market statistics article, published on 6 May 2020, which details some of the challenges that we have faced in producing estimates at this time.
An article, published on 11 December 2020, compares our labour market data sources and discusses some of the main differences.
Workforce jobs estimates include data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). From the 15 July 2021, an improved LFS weighting methodology was implemented, better accounting for population changes through the coronavirus pandemic, affecting periods from January to March 2020 onwards. For more information on the changes to LFS weighting methodology through the pandemic, please see our article on the LFS Survey weighting methodology.
The data in this bulletin come from surveys of businesses. It is not feasible to survey every business in the UK, so these statistics are estimates based on samples, not precise figures.
Estimates of vacancies are obtained from the Vacancy Survey, which is a survey of employers. Adzuna Online job advert estimates are also published as part of our Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators bulletin.
Estimates of jobs are compiled from a number of sources, including Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES), the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Surveys (QPSES) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). STES is a group of surveys that collect employment and turnover information from private sector businesses. In December of each year, the jobs estimates are "benchmarked" to the latest estimates from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES).
The STES estimates are drawn for a specified date early in the last month of each calendar quarter. The March 2020 data were from 13 March 2020, before the start of coronavirus social distancing measures.
For more information on how jobs data are measured, please see Section 7: Measuring the data in our Vacancies and jobs in the UK: April 2021 bulletin.
The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level is around plus or minus 1.3% of that level expressed as a coefficient of variation, giving a 95% confidence interval for estimates of approximately plus or minus 32,000.
The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level, for a typical industrial sector, is around plus or minus 6% of that level.
|SIC 2007 Section||United Kingdom|
|Estimate for Dec|
|Sampling variability of|
estimate [note 1]
|B||Mining & quarrying||51||±4|
|D||Electricity, gas, steam &|
air conditioning supply
|E||Water supply, sewerage, waste |
& remediation activities
|G||Wholesale & retail trade; repair |
of motor vehicles and
|H||Transport & storage||1,945||±50|
|I||Accommodation & food|
|J||Information & communication||1,653||±50|
|K||Financial & insurance|
|L||Real estate activities||681||±41|
|M||Professional scientific &|
|N||Administrative & support|
|O||Public admin & defence;|
compulsory social security
|Q||Human health & social|
|R||Arts, entertainment & recreation||1,005||±47|
|S/T||Other service activities/Private|
Download this table Table 1: Sampling variability for estimates of jobs in the UK, thousands.xls .csv
Information of the strengths and limitations of this bulletin are available in our Vacancies and jobs in the UK: April 2021 bulletin.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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