The number of job vacancies in March to May 2022 rose to a new record of 1,300,000; an increase of 20,000 from the previous quarter, and an increase of 503,900 from the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level in January to March 2020.
In March to May 2022, the quarterly rate of growth continued to slow down, falling for the 10th consecutive period to 1.6%.
The ratio of vacancies to every 100 employee jobs maintained a record high of 4.3 in March to May 2022, with 7 of the 18 industry sectors displaying record high ratios.
The total number of workforce jobs in the UK in March 2022 rose to an estimated 35.6 million, which, despite being 57,000 below pre-coronavirus December 2019 levels, displayed a record quarterly increase of nearly 412,000.
In March to May 2022, quarterly vacancy growth fell to 1.6% from 5.4% last quarter. Despite the quarterly growth rate decreasing for 10 consecutive periods, it remains positive and displays the most sustained period of positive growth since the end of 2015.
The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in May 2022 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations), in Dataset X06 , and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. Notably, the single-month estimates in Dataset X06 fell for the first time since December 2021.
The rate of overall quarterly growth continues to slow, and at 1.6% is at its lowest since June to August 2020. Most industry sectors showed positive growth, with the highest seen in real estate activities (24.5%) and arts, entertainment and recreation (16.1%).
In March to May 2022, the quarterly growth remained positive with the number of vacancies continuing to rise in 12 of the 18 industry sectors. On the quarter, vacancies increased by 20,000, with the largest increases in professional, scientific and technical activities (9,200), and accommodation and food activities (7,900).
March to May 2022 saw all industries above their January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels. The largest increase was in accommodation and food service activities, up 89,100 (104.8%), and human health and social work, up 78,400 (57.5%).
The number of unemployed people to every vacancy remained at a record low of 1.0 in February to April 2022, with the number of unemployed people rising slightly above the number of vacancies.
In March to May 2022, the rate of quarterly growth varied across company size bands, with the largest size band having the highest growth of 5.9%.Back to table of contents
Figure 4 shows estimates of workforce jobs for March 2022.
The estimates are provided from various sources. Those of employee jobs in the private sector are drawn from surveys relating to the reference date 11 March 2022. Those of self-employment jobs are drawn from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which covers a three-month period from the start of February to the end of April 2022. On 14 June 2022, LFS responses have been reweighted using updated HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Real Time Information (RTI). For more information, see Section 7: Measuring the data. The Workforce Jobs estimates for March 2022, which includes some data from the Labour Force Survey, are based on previous weights, but will be revised on 13 September 2022.
In March 2022, there were an estimated 35.6 million jobs in the UK, the highest level since March 2020. This represents a record increase of nearly 412,000 from December 2021. This was driven by increases in employee jobs of 302,000, self-employment jobs of 87,000, and government supported trainees of 24,000.
The workforce jobs estimate in March 2022 displayed a small deficit of 57,000 from a pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) December 2019. This represents a significant recovery with increases in every quarter since December 2020, when the figure was nearly 1.2 million below that of a year earlier. Notably, the quarterly rate of growth increased to 1.2% in March 2022, which is the highest we have seen for 10 years.
The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with both rising in the quarter to March 2022. Employee jobs in March 2022 continued to grow from December 2019 and are now at a record high of 31.3 million, 521,000 above their December 2019 pre-coronavirus level. However, this rate of growth has not been seen in the self-employment jobs which remain 600,000 below December 2019 levels. The growth in the employee jobs component of workforce jobs can also be seen in the number of employees on payroll. This is reported in our Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted dataset, which has continued to increase from February 2021.
The effect coronavirus had on job numbers is variable across industries, with 12 of the 20 industry sectors still below pre-coronavirus levels. The hardest hit sector, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles has seen the largest number of job losses at nearly 166,000. Other notable falls include other service activities (117,000), and agriculture (78,000). However, there are strong indications of recovery, with the deficit of total jobs becoming smaller over the same period. Eight industries are above their December 2019 level, with five showing record highs, the largest of which was human health and social work, up nearly 151,000 to a new record of 4.6 million jobs.
On the quarter, 13 industry sectors grew from December 2021, contributing to a record increase of nearly 412,000 to the total workforce jobs estimate. The largest increases appeared in manufacturing, and administration and support activities, which were both up by 60,000 jobs.Back to table of contents
VACS02: Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 14 June 2022
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).
JOBS01: Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 14 June 2022
Estimates of jobs by type of job (including employee jobs, self-employment jobs, HM Forces and government-supported trainees).
JOBS02: Workforce jobs by industry
Dataset JOBS02 | Released 14 June 2022
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).
X06:Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 14 June 2022
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 bulletin.
A more detailed glossary is available.Back to table of contents
Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates published on 14 June 2022 have been reweighted for periods from January to March 2020, using updated Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) data. The non-response bias adjustment, previously implemented for England, Wales and Scotland data, has now also been applied to Northern Ireland data. For an explanation of the impact and a more detailed reweighting timeline, see our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators: 2022 article.
The workforce jobs estimates, which include some data from LFS, published on 14 June 2022 are based on previous weights. Workforce job estimates will be revised on 13 September 2022.
Consultation on release practices
The Office for Statistics Regulation has finalised its consultation on release practices. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has welcomed the findings, specifically noting that the release-time exemptions, which were granted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, are now incorporated into the revised Code of Practice. As such, the monthly Labour Market bulletin will continue to be published at 7am.
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.
For more information on how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus pandemic, see our Coronavirus and the effects on UK labour market statistics article published on 6 May 2020.
For a comparison of our labour market data sources and some of the main differences, see our Comparison of labour market data sources article published on 11 December 2020.
Workforce jobs estimates include data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). From the 15 July 2021 an improved LFS weighting methodology, better accounting for population changes through the COVID-19 pandemic was implemented, affecting periods from January to March 2020 onwards. For more information on the changes to LFS weighting methodology through the coronavirus pandemic, 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, a survey of employers. Adzuna Online job advert estimates are also published as part of our Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society bulletin.
Estimates of jobs are compiled from a number of sources, including Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES), the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (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 the Measuring the Data section in our previous release.
The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level is around plus or minus 1.5% of that level expressed as a coefficient of variation, giving a 95% confidence interval for estimates of approximately plus or minus 20,000.
The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level, for a typical industrial sector is around plus or minus 6% of that level.
|A||Agriculture, forestry and fishing||326||±23|
|B||Mining and quarrying||57||±5|
|D||Electricity, gas, steam and|
air conditioning supply
|E||Water supply, sewerage, waste|
and remediation activities
|G||Wholesale and retail trade; repair|
of motor vehicles and motorcycles
|H||Transport and storage||1,812||±43|
food service activities
|J||Information and communication||1,565||±48|
|K||Financial and insurance activities||1,082||±32|
|L||Real estate activities||614||±37|
|M||Professional scientific |
and technical activities
|O||Public admin and |
|Q||Human health and|
social work activities
|S/T||Other service |
Download this table Table 1: Sampling variability for estimates of jobs in the UK, thousands.xls .csv
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