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ONS Labour Market Overview: October

We have compiled a summary of the significant findings from the latest ONS report for October. 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.

Due to the increased uncertainty around the Labour Force Survey estimates, we can only provide experimental figures using growth rates from Pay as You Earn Real-Time information and the Claimant Count for the periods from May to July 2023 onwards.

Employment/Unemployment Rates

HR professionals sat working togetherFrom experimental estimates for June to August 2023, the UK employment rate was estimated at 75.7%, which is 0.3 percentage points lower than what was recorded in the previous quarter.

The UK unemployment rate in this quarter increased by 0.2 percentage points to 4.2% compared to the previous quarter.

Job Vacancies

From July to September 2023, there was a fall in vacancies in the quarter for the 15th consecutive period. The estimated number of vacancies fell by 43,000 in the quarter to 988,000. The number of vacancies fell in 14 of the 18 industry sectors.

Economic Activity

Experimental estimates for June to August 2023 saw a 0.1 percentage point increase in the UK economic inactivity rate to 20.9% compared to the previous quarter.

Labour Disputes

119,000 working days were lost due to labour disputes in the month of August. The majority of the strikes were in the Health and Social Work sectors.

Payroll

In September 2023, the estimated number of payrolled employees is largely unchanged on the month as it’s down 11,000 on the revised August figure, to 30.1 million. This estimate should be treated as provisional and will likely be revised when more data is received in the following month.

Annual Growth

Three professionals collaborating togetherJune to August 2023 saw the same annual growth rate as the previous 3-month period, recorded at 7.8% (excluding bonuses) and 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 8.1%. This rate was affected by NHS and Civil Service one-off payments being made in June, 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 1.3% and regular pay rose on the year by 1.1%.

 

In conclusion, the Office for National Statistics’ September report provides insights into the UK’s economy and labour market. Key findings include a dip in employment and a rise in unemployment, with job vacancies continuing to decline. Economic activity increased slightly whilst Labour disputes from the Health and Social Work sectors saw a rise in lost workdays. Payroll numbers remained mostly steady. Annual pay growth remained, 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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