Labour market overview, UK: July 2021

Estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

16 July 2021 10:00

Some estimates published in this dataset at 7:00 15 July 2021 were not suppressed on quality grounds as in the previous release. This suppression has now been corrected.

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Contact:
Email Debra Leaker

Release date:
15 July 2021

Next release:
17 August 2021

1. Other pages in this release

Reweighting

Labour Force Survey (LFS) responses have been reweighted to new populations derived using growth rates from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Real Time Information (RTI), to allow for different trends during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The reweighting will give improved estimates of both rates and levels.

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2. Main points

The most recent data show the labour market continuing to recover.

The number of payroll employees showed another monthly increase, up 356,000 in June 2021 to 28.9 million. However, it remains 206,000 below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, some regions are now above pre-pandemic (February 2020) levels. These include North East, North West, East Midlands and Northern Ireland.

Following a period of employment growth and low unemployment, since the start of the pandemic, the employment rate has generally decreased, and the unemployment rate increased. However, since the end of 2020 both have shown signs of recovery. In the latest period (March to May 2021), there was an increase in the employment rate of 0.1 percentage points, to 74.8%, and a decrease in the unemployment rate of 0.2 percentage points, to 4.8%. The economic inactivity rate is up 0.1 percentage points on the previous quarter, to 21.3%.

With the relaxation of many coronavirus restrictions, total hours worked increased on the quarter, however it is still below pre-pandemic levels. The redundancy rate decreased on the quarter and has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

There were 862,000 job vacancies in April to June 2021 – 77,500 above its pre-pandemic level in January to March 2020. All but one industry saw quarterly increases in their number of vacancies. In June 2021, the experimental monthly vacancies data, and the experimental Adzuna online vacancies data both continued to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.3% and regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 6.6% among employees for March to May 2021. However, annual growth in average employee pay is being affected by temporary factors that have inflated the increase in the headline growth rate. These are compositional effects where there has been a fall in the number and proportion of lower-paid employee jobs so increasing average earnings and base effects where the latest months are now compared with the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when earnings were first affected and pushed down.

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3. Latest indicators at a glance

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4. Labour market data

Summary of labour market statistics
Dataset A01 | Released 15 July 2021
Estimates of employment, unemployment and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

Real Time Information statistics
Dataset Real Time Information statistics | Released 15 July 2021
Earnings and employment statistics from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) (Experimental Statistics) seasonally adjusted.

Labour Force Survey single month estimates
Dataset X01 | Released 15 July 2021
Labour Force Survey (LFS) experimental single-month estimates of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity.

Labour Force Survey weekly estimates
Dataset X07 | Released 15 July 2021
Labour Force Survey (LFS) experimental weekly estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and hours in the UK.

View all related data on the related data page.

Alternatively, NOMIS provides free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources.

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5. Glossary

Average weekly earnings

Average weekly earnings measures 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 as 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.

Economic inactivity

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 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

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. A more detailed explanation is available in A guide to labour market statistics.

Unemployment

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 (those in work plus those seeking and available to work) who are unemployed.

Vacancies

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).

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI)

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 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.

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6. Measuring the data

Our bulletins will be shorter and more focused on the main messages and most important trends in response to user feedback. Read more on this and how to send us feedback on how our publications are evolving.

Coronavirus

For more information on how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see the article published on 6 May 2020, which details some of the challenges that we have faced in producingestimates at this time.

An article published 11 December 2020 compares our labour market data sources and discusses some of the main differences.

Labour Force Survey (LFS) responses have been reweighted to new populations derived using growth rates from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Real Time Information (RTI), to allow for different trends during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The reweighting will give improved estimates of both rates and levels.

Our latest data and analysis on the impact of the coronavirus on the UK economy and population are available on our dedicated coronavirus web page. This is the hub for all special coronavirus-related publications, drawing on all available data. In response to the developing coronavirus pandemic, we are working to ensure that we continue to publish economic statistics. For more information, please see COVID-19 and the production ofstatistics.

More information on measuring the data is available in our previous release.

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7. Strengths and limitations

The estimates presented in this bulletin contain uncertainty.

Further information is available in A guide to labour market statistics.

Information on revisions is available in the Labour market statistics revisions policy.

Information on the strengths and limitations of this bulletin is available in our previous release.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Debra Leaker
labour.market@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455400