Labour market overview, UK: January 2023

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

This is the latest release. View previous releases

This is an accredited National Statistic. Click for information about types of official statistics.

Contact:
Email Debra Leaker

Release date:
17 January 2023

Next release:
14 February 2023

2. Main points

The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.6% in September to November 2022, largely unchanged compared with the previous three-month period and 1.0 percentage points lower than before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020). The number of employees and part-time self-employed workers increased over the latest three-month period, while full-time self-employed workers decreased.

The most timely estimate of payrolled employees for December 2022 shows another monthly increase, up 28,000 on the revised November 2022 figures, to 29.9 million.

The unemployment rate for September to November 2022 increased by 0.2 percentage points on the quarter to 3.7%. In the latest three-month period, the number of people unemployed for up to six months increased, driven by those aged 16 to 24 years. Those unemployed for over six and up to 12 months increased, while those unemployed for over 12 months decreased in the recent period.

The economic inactivity rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 21.5% in September to November 2022. The decrease in economic inactivity during the latest three-month period was driven by those aged 16 to 24 years and those aged 50 to 64 years. Looking at economic inactivity by reason, the quarterly decrease was driven by those inactive because they are students, long-term sick, or retired.

The redundancy rate has increased to 3.4 per thousand employees in September to November 2022 but remains low.

The number of vacancies in October to December 2022 was 1,161,000, a decrease of 75,000 from July to September 2022. Despite six consecutive quarterly falls, the number of vacancies remains at historically high levels. 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.

Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) and regular pay (excluding bonuses) among employees was the same at 6.4% in September to November 2022; for regular pay, this is the strongest growth rate seen outside of the coronavirus pandemic period. Average regular pay growth for the private sector was 7.2% in September to November 2022, and 3.3% for the public sector. Outside of the height of the coronavirus pandemic period, this is the largest growth rate seen for the private sector.

In real terms (adjusted for inflation) over the year, total and regular pay both fell by 2.6%. This is slightly smaller than the record fall in real regular pay we saw in April to June 2022 (3.0%), but still remains among the largest falls in growth since comparable records began in 2001.

There were 467,000 working days lost because of labour disputes in November 2022, which is the highest since November 2011.

Back to table of contents

3. Latest indicators at a glance

Embed code

Back to table of contents

4. Labour market data

Summary of labour market statistics
Dataset A01 | Released 17 January 2023
Estimates of employment, unemployment and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted
Dataset | Released 17 January 2023
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 17 January 2023
Labour Force Survey (LFS) experimental single-month estimates of employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity.

A guide to labour market data
Methodology | Updated 25 August 2022
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.

Back to table of contents

5. Glossary

Average weekly earnings

Average weekly earnings 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.

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.

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, and 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 in our Guide to labour market statistics.

Back to table of contents

6. Measuring the data

Our Comparison of labour market data sources article compares data sources and discusses some of the main differences.

Coronavirus

For more information on 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.

Our latest data and analysis on the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy and population are available on our dedicated Coronavirus webpage. This is a 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 our COVID-19 and the production of statistics webpage.

The population totals used for the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates use projected growth rates from Real Time Information (RTI) data for UK, EU and non-EU populations based on 2021 patterns. The total population used for the LFS therefore does not take into account any changes in migration, birth rates, death rates, and so on since June 2021, and hence levels estimates may be under- or over-estimating the true values and should be used with caution. Estimates of rates will, however, be robust.

Economic statistics governance after EU exit

Following the UK's exit from the EU, new governance arrangements are being put in place that will support the adoption and implementation of high-quality standards for UK economic statistics. These governance arrangements will promote international comparability, and add to the credibility and independence of the UK's statistical system.

At the centre of this new governance framework will be the new National Statistician's Committee for Advice on Standards for Economic Statistics (NSCASE). NSCASE will support the UK by ensuring its processes for influencing and adopting international statistical standards are world leading. The advice NSCASE provides to the National Statistician will span the full range of domains in economic statistics, including the national accounts, fiscal statistics, prices, trade and the balance of payments, and labour market statistics.

Further information about NSCASE is available on the UK Statistics Authority website.

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 labour.market@ons.gov.uk.

Consultation on release practices

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) has finalised its consultation on release practices. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has welcomed the findings in a statement on the ONS's response to the OSR's proposals, specifically noting that the release time exemptions, which were granted during the coronavirus pandemic, are now incorporated into the revised Code of Practice. As such, the monthly labour market bulletin will continue to be published at 7am.

Occupational data in ONS surveys

The ONS has identified an issue with the collection of some occupational data in a number of our surveys, including the 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 2022, the ONS published an article based on initial analysis of the potential impact on different four-digit SOC codes. The ONS advises to continue exercising caution in the use of detailed SOC breakdowns until the issue has been corrected.

Back to table of contents

7. Strengths and limitations

The estimates presented in this bulletin contain uncertainty.

Further information is available in our Guide to labour market statistics.

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

Information on the strengths and limitations of this bulletin is available in our previous bulletin, Labour market overview, UK: April 2021.

Back to table of contents

9. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 17 January 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Labour market overview, UK: January 2023

Back to table of contents

Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

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