1. Abstract

This article explains the developments and revisions to the workforce jobs (WFJ) series, released by Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 13 December 2017 in the Labour market statistical bulletin.

Workforce jobs is a quarterly measure of the number of jobs in the UK and is the preferred measure of the change in jobs by industry. It is a compound source that draws on a range of employer surveys, household surveys and administrative sources. WFJ is the sum of employee jobs (EJ) measured primarily by employer surveys (predominantly the Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES) and the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES), self-employment jobs (SEJ) from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), and government-supported trainees (GST) and Her Majesty’s Forces (HMF) from administrative sources and LFS. A variety of outputs by industry, region, gender and full-time or part-time status are produced for a range of publications and users.

This article explains, in detail, the revisions that have been made to the WFJ series since December 2016 as a result of:

  • benchmarking to the latest estimates from the annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES); these revisions will go back to Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2014

  • changes to seasonal parameters following a seasonal adjustment review; these revisions will go back to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 1981

  • revisions to Public Sector Employment (PSE) (impact on WFJ begins in Quarter 4 2008).

  • revisions to STES for periods Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2016 onwards, due to updates in data supplied or late data

  • re-weighting of series sourced from the Labour Force Survey back to Quarter 2 2012

  • revisions back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 to the government-supported trainees (GSTs) series due to revised data from the devolved administrations

  • revisions to agriculture for periods Quarter 4 2012 onwards

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2. Benchmarking Great Britain employee jobs to the Business Register Employment Survey

Benchmarking is an annual process to align the quarterly Great Britain employee jobs (EJ) series to the latest estimates from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES). BRES is based on a sample of approximately 83,000 reporting units1, a much larger sample than the Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES), and so generally is considered to produce more accurate and detailed estimates of the level of employment. BRES estimates refer to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) of a given year (the reference period is in September). The private sector element of the Great Britain EJ series has been benchmarked to the equivalent from BRES for the periods Quarter 3 2015 and Quarter 3 2016 (the latest period available).

Notes for: Benchmarking Great Britain employee jobs to the Business Register Employment Survey

  1. Reporting units hold the mailing address to which survey questionnaires are sent. The questionnaire can cover the enterprise as a whole, or parts of the enterprise identified by lists of local units.
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3. Seasonal adjustment

Seasonal adjustment is the process of identifying and removing the seasonal components from a series to leave the underlying trend and irregular components. The revised workforce jobs series have undergone a seasonal adjustment review, by our Time Series Analysis branch, causing revisions back to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 1981.

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4. Changes to estimates of public sector employment

Workforce jobs (WFJ) makes use of our official public sector employment (PSE) estimates for Great Britain. These inputs are not benchmarked as they are the definitive measure of PSE. The data received at Quarter 3 2017 have led to revisions back to Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2008 in WFJ. The main cause of recent revisions is revised employment data on the NHS. Further information is available in the September 2017 PSE statistical bulletin.

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5. Late or revised data

The private sector employee jobs data come from sample surveys. Each quarter revisions to data supplied or late data are incorporated for the previous quarter in line with the revisions policy. Revisions or late data for earlier periods (Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2016 onwards) have now been included.

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6. Re-weighting of LFS estimates

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is used to measure self-employment jobs (SEJ) and government-supported trainees in England. It is also the source of EJ estimates for agriculture and activities of households as employers. The LFS was re-weighted in May 2017 leading to revisions back to Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2012. Revisions have been taken on for all domains.

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7. Government-supported trainees

Revised estimates of government-supported trainees taken on from the devolved administrations caused revisions back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015. Estimates for regions in England were revised back to Quarter 1 2012 due to Labour Force Survey re-weighting.

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8. Agriculture

Revisions are caused by the taking on of Business Register and Employment Survey data and apply from Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2012.

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10. Annex A: Workforce jobs sources

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