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ONS Labour Market Overview: November 2023

We have compiled a summary of the significant findings from the latest ONS report for November. This report provides crucial estimates and statistics related to employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, and other important indicators for the UK. Through this, we can gain valuable insights into the current state of the labour market.

Young professional writing notes at desk

Job Vacancies

From August to September 2023, there was a fall in vacancies in the quarter for the 16th consecutive period. The estimated number of vacancies fell by 58,000 in the quarter to 957,000. The number of vacancies fell in 16 of the 18 industry sectors.

Labour Disputes

229,000 working days were lost due to labour disputes in the month of September. The majority of the strikes were in the Health & Social Work and education sectors.

Payroll

The UK payrolled employee growth for September 2023 compared with August 2023 has been revised from a decrease of 11,000 reported in last month’s update to an increase of 32,000.

In October 2023, the estimated number of payrolled employees increased by 33,000 on the revised September 2023 figure, to 30.2 million. This estimate should be treated as provisional and will likely be revised when more data is received in the following month.

Annual Growth

July to September 2023 saw the annual growth in regular pay rate (excluding bonuses) drop slightly on previous periods to 7.7% but remains one of the highest regular annual growth rates in comparable records since 2001.

The annual growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.9%. This rate was affected by the Civil Service one-off payments made in July and August 2023.

In real terms (taking into account inflation using CPI, including owner occupier’s housing costs), annual growth for total pay rose by 1.4% and regular pay rose on the year by 1.3%.

 

Young professional sat with senior managerDue to the increased uncertainty around the Labour Force Survey estimates, we can only provide an alternative series of estimates of UK employment, unemployment and economic activity. These figures were derived using growth rates from PAYE real-time information and the Claimant Count from May to July 2023 onwards, providing a more holistic view of the state of the labour market while the Labour Force Survey estimates are uncertain.

Employment/Unemployment Rates

From alternative estimates for July to September 2023, the UK employment rate was estimated at 75.7%, which is a 0.1 percentage point drop on the quarter. The UK unemployment rate was largely unchanged on the quarter at 4.2%.

Economic Inactivity

Alternative estimates for July to September 2023 saw the UK economic inactivity rate largely unchanged on the quarter to 20.9%.

 

In conclusion, the Office for National Statistics’ November report provides insights into the UK’s economy and labour market. Key findings include a dip in employment and unemployment remaining unchanged, with job vacancies continuing to decline. Economic inactivity was largely unchanged whilst Labour disputes from the Health & Social Work and Education sectors saw a rise in lost workdays. Payroll numbers have been revised from last month’s update and increased. Annual pay growth slightly dropped, with total pay affected by one-off bonus payments. After accounting for inflation, real pay growth remained modest.

Source: Labour market overview, UK – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

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