In August to October 2023, the estimated number of vacancies in the UK fell by 58,000 on the quarter to 957,000. Vacancies fell on the quarter for the 16th consecutive period, with vacancies falling in 16 of the 18 industry sectors.
Annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) in Great Britain was 7.7% in July to September 2023, slightly down on the previous periods, but is still among the highest annual growth rates since comparable records began in 2001. Annual growth in employees' average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.9%. This total annual growth rate is affected by the Civil Service one-off payments made in July and August 2023. In real terms (adjusted for inflation using Consumer Prices Index including owner occupier's housing costs (CPIH)), annual growth for total pay rose on the year by 1.4%, and regular pay rose on the year by 1.3%.
There were 229,000 working days lost because of labour disputes across the UK in September 2023. The majority of the strikes were in the health and social work and education sectors.
UK payrolled employee growth for September 2023 compared with August 2023 has been revised from a decrease of 11,000 reported in the last bulletin to an increase of 32,000.
The estimate of payrolled employees in the UK for October 2023 increased by 33,000 on the revised September 2023 figure, to 30.2 million. The October 2023 estimate should be treated as a provisional estimate and is likely to be revised when more data are received next month.
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 holistic view of the state of the labour market while the LFS estimates are uncertain.
These alternative estimates for July to September 2023 show that;
- the UK employment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 75.7%
- the UK unemployment rate was largely unchanged on the quarter at 4.2%
- the UK economic inactivity rate was largely unchanged on the quarter at 20.9%.
Summary of labour market statistics
Dataset A01 | Released 14 November 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 14 November 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 14 November 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 (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 (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 and will affect labour market-related releases in November and December 2023.
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.Back to table of contents
The estimates presented in this bulletin contain uncertainty. For more information, see our Uncertainty and how we measure it methodology.
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.
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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