In September to November 2023, the estimated number of vacancies in the UK fell by 45,000 on the quarter to 949,000. Vacancies fell on the quarter for the 17th consecutive period, the longest consecutive run of quarterly falls ever recorded but still above pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels.
Annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) in Great Britain was 7.3% in August to October 2023, this growth continues to remain strong but is not as high as in recent periods. Annual growth in employees' average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.2%. Annual average regular earnings growth for the public sector was 6.9% in August to October 2023, and is among the highest regular annual growth rates since comparable records began in 2001. Annual average regular earnings growth for the private sector was 7.3%.
In real terms (adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH)), annual growth for total pay rose on the year by 1.3%, and regular pay rose on the year by 1.4%.
There were 131,000 working days lost because of labour disputes across the UK in October 2023. Three-fifths of the labour disputes were in the health and social work sector. In October 2023, 49,000 workers were involved in labour disputes, the lowest number since June 2022.
The estimated number of workforce jobs in the UK in September 2023 was a record 36.8 million, an increase of 210,000 from June 2023. The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs. The estimated number of employee jobs has been on a largely upwards trend since September 2020, resulting in a record high of 32.5 million in September 2023.
The estimate of payrolled employees in the UK for November 2023 was largely unchanged compared with the revised October 2023 figure, down 13,000 to 30.2 million. The November 2023 estimate should be treated as a provisional estimate and is likely to be revised when more data are received next month.
UK payrolled employee growth for October 2023 compared with September 2023 has been revised from an increase of 33,000 reported in the last bulletin to an increase of 39,000.
Because of the increased uncertainty around the Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates, we are publishing an alternative series of estimates of UK employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity. These figures were derived using growth rates from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information (excluding the early flash estimate) and the Claimant Count for the periods from May to July 2023 onwards. This is to provide a more considered view of the labour market while the LFS estimates are uncertain.
These alternative estimates for August to October 2023 show that:
the UK employment rate (for those aged 16 to 64 years) was largely unchanged on the quarter at 75.7%
the UK unemployment rate (for those aged 16 years and over) was largely unchanged on the quarter at 4.2%
the UK economic inactivity rate (for those aged 16 to 64 years) was largely unchanged on the quarter at 20.9%
Summary of labour market statistics
Dataset A01 | Released 12 December 2023
Labour market statistics summary data table, including earnings, employment, unemployment, redundancies and vacancies, Great Britain and UK, published monthly.
Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted
Dataset | Released 12 December 2023
Earnings and employment statistics from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) (experimental statistics), seasonally adjusted.
Adjusted employment, unemployment and economic inactivity
Dataset X10 | Released 12 December 2023
Experimental labour market estimates using administrative data to produce adjusted UK employment, unemployment and economic inactivity measures, seasonally adjusted. Includes a breakdown by countries and regions of the UK.
A guide to labour market data
Methodology | Updated 21 April 2023
Summary of labour market datasets, providing estimates of employment, unemployment, average weekly earnings, and the number of vacancies. Tables are listed alphabetically and by topic.
View all related data on our related data page.
Alternatively, Nomis provides free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics.
Average weekly earnings
Average weekly earnings, detailed in our Guide to labour market statistics methodology, measure money paid by employers to employees in Great Britain before tax and other deductions from pay. The estimates are not just a measure of pay rises, because they also reflect, for example, changes in the overall structure of the workforce.
More high-paid jobs in the economy would have an upward effect on the earnings growth rate.
People not in the labour force (also known as economically inactive in our Guide to labour market statistics methodology) are not in employment but do not meet the internationally accepted definition of unemployment. This is because they have not been seeking work within the last four weeks or they 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. See our Guide to labour market statistics methodology for a more detailed explanation.
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 who are unemployed. It is the proportion of the economically active population (people in work and those seeking and available to work) who are unemployed. See our Guide to labour market statistics methodology for more information.
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 businesses 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). For more information, see our Guide to labour market statistics methodology.
Pay As You Earn Real Time Information
These data come from HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) system. They cover the whole population, rather than a sample of people or companies, and they will allow for more detailed estimates of the population. The release is classed as experimental statistics (see our Guide to experimental statistics methodology), as the methodologies used to produce the statistics are still in their development phase. As a result, the series are subject to revisions.
A more detailed glossary is available in our Guide to labour market statistics methodology.Back to table of contents
We have been facing the challenge of falling response rates for household surveys, as have other comparable countries. This issue became more acute in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data collected for August 2023. The LFS estimates due to be published in October 2023 were suspended because of quality concerns.
Therefore, we have developed a comprehensive plan to address these concerns and reintroduce LFS estimates. The plan covers both data collection and methodological improvements. An Update on the Labour Force Survey was published in a statement on 5 December 2023, detailing the plan for the December and January Labour Market publications.
Further information on response rates and other quality-related issues for the LFS can be found in our quarterly Labour Force Survey performance and quality monitoring reports.
Our Comparison of labour market data sources methodology compares data sources and discusses some of the main differences.
For more information on how labour market data sources were affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see our Coronavirus and the effects on UK labour market statistics article.
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 us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labour market transformation
We have published a Labour market transformation article providing an update on the transformation of labour market statistics.
We welcome your feedback on this latest update and our plans. Please email us at email@example.com to tell us what you think.
The Bank of England were granted exceptional pre-release access to our Labour market overview, UK: December 2023 bulletin and accompanying tables at 8am on Monday 11 December 2023 so that the data were available for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held on that day. For further information, see the Exchange of letters requesting exceptional pre-release access.Back to table of contents
Information on revisions is available in our Labour market statistics revisions policy.
Further information is available in our Guide to labour market statistics methodology.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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