Labour market overview, UK: September 2022

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

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Contact:
Email Debra Leaker

Release date:
13 September 2022

Next release:
11 October 2022

2. Main points

The UK employment rate for May to July 2022 for people aged 16 to 64 years decreased by 0.2 percentage points on the quarter to 75.4% and is still below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels. Full-time employees and self-employed workers increased over the latest three-month period, while part-time employees decreased.  

The most timely estimate of payrolled employees for August 2022 shows a monthly increase, up 71,000 on the revised July 2022 figures, to a record 29.7 million.

The unemployment rate for May to July 2022 decreased by 0.2 percentage points on the quarter to 3.6%, the lowest rate since May to July 1974. In the latest three-month period, the number of people unemployed for up to six months decreased to a record low, and those unemployed between 6 and 12 months increased. Meanwhile, the number of people unemployed for over 12 months continued to decrease.

The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.4 percentage points on the quarter to 21.7% in May to July 2022. This increase in the latest three month period was largely driven by those aged 16 to 24 years and those aged 50 to 64 years. Looking at economic inactivity by reason, the increase during the latest three-month period was driven by those inactive because they are students or long-term sick.

The number of job vacancies in June to August 2022 was 1,266,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous quarter and the largest quarterly fall since June to August 2020.

The total number of Workforce Jobs in the UK in June 2022 rose by 290,000 on the quarter to a record 35.8 million, and for the first time exceeds the pre-coronavirus level of December 2019.

Growth in employees' average total pay (including bonuses) was 5.5% and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 5.2% in May to July 2022. In real terms (adjusted for inflation), over the year, total pay fell by 2.6% and regular pay fell by 2.8%. Average regular pay growth for the private sector was 6.0% in May to July 2022, and 2.0% for the public sector; outside of the height of the coronavirus pandemic period, this is the largest difference we have seen between the private sector and public sector.

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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 13 September 2022
Estimates of employment, unemployment and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

Real Time Information statistics
Dataset | Released 13 September 2022
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 13 September 2022
LFS experimental single-month estimates of employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity.

A guide to labour market data
Methodology | Released 15 December 2021
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.

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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.

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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 web page. 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.

Labour Force Survey reweighting

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. This uses the same method of applying growth rates from PAYE RTI data as that implemented in July 2021. The non-response bias adjustment, previously implemented for England, Wales and Scotland data, has now also been applied to Northern Ireland data. Our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators: 2022 article explains the impact and gives a more detailed reweighting timeline.

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.

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 Office for National Statistics (ONS) has identified an issue with the collection of some occupational data in a number of our surveys, including the Labour Force Survey (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 (4-digit Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)) occupations, and data derived from them. Although the majority are unaffected, we are urging caution in the interpretation of these detailed data as we resolve the issue.

None of our headline statistics, other than those directly sourced from occupational data, are affected and you can continue to rely on their accuracy. This issue does not affect Census 2021 or the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey in any way. For more information, see our statement on occupational data in ONS social surveys.

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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.

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9. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 13 September 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Labour market overview, UK: September 2022

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

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