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ONS Labour Market June 2023

Eleventh consecutive quarterly fall in vacancies 

  • The number of job vacancies in March to May 2023 was 1,051,000 - a decrease of 79,000 from December 2022 to February 2023.
  • The largest falls in vacancies came from financial and insurance activities, and transport and storage which both decreased by 18.7% and 18.3% respectively.
  • Real estate activities and other service activities saw strong quarterly growth in vacancies, with increases of 29.2% and 25.9% respectively.
  • On an annual basis, total vacancies decreased by 250,000, with accommodation and food service activities experiencing the largest fall (46,000)
  • The total number of vacancies remained 250,000 above pre-pandemic levels (January to March 2020).

Fall in retail employees 

  • Early payroll estimates for May show the number of payrolled employees rose by 460,000 employees compared to the previous year (up 1.6%).
  • On the previous month, the number of payrolled employees increased by 23,000, or 0.1%.
  • The largest yearly increase in payrolled employees continued to be driven by health and social work sector (a rise of 183,000 employees YoY), while the smallest was in the wholesale and retail sector (a fall of 43,000). 

Inactivity decreasing

  • The unemployment rate for February to April 2023 is estimated at 3.8%, 0.1pp higher than the previous three-month period and 0.2pp below pre-pandemic levels.
  • In the quarter, the number of people unemployed for up to twelve months increased, while those unemployed for over twelve months decreased.
  • The economic inactivity rate decreased by 0.4pp on the quarter to 21.0% in February to April.
  • Although declining, inactivity is 0.7pp above the pre-pandemic level.

Employment rate edges up

  • The employment rate for February to April rose 0.2pp in the quarter to 76.0% but is 0.6pp below pre-pandemic levels. 
  • The number of full-time employees increased in the period and remains above pre-pandemic levels. The number of part-time employees also increased in the quarter but remain below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Both full-time and part-time self-employed workers increased in the latest quarter.

 Hours worked increases

  • Total actual weekly hours worked increased by 15.8 million hours on the quarter to 1.06 billion hours in February to April. 
  • This is 6.3 million hours above pre-pandemic levels (December 2019 to February 2020). 
  • The increase in February to April was driven by women, whose actual weekly hours worked are above pre-pandemic levels. Total actual weekly hours worked by men also increased but remain below pre-pandemic levels. 

Real earnings decline

Both annual total and regular pay growth continued to lag inflation in the three months to April. 

  • In nominal terms, average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £603 per week before tax and other deductions from pay in April – up from £561 per week a year earlier. 
  • Average total pay (including bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £648 per week before tax and other deductions from pay in April – up from £603 per week a year earlier.
  •  Regular pay rose by 7.2% and total pay by 6.5% in the three months to April compared to a year earlier. This remains the highest growth for regular pay seen outside the pandemic. 
  • Average regular pay growth in the private sector was 7.6% in the three months to April, while public sector pay rose by 5.6%. 
  • In real terms (adjusted for inflation), regular pay and total pay declined 1.3% and 2.0% YoY respectively in the three months to April.

Average weekly earnings annual growth rates in Great Britain, seasonally adjusted, January to March 2001 to February to April 2023

Source: ONS

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