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ONS Labour Market October 2019

The latest labour market data from the ONS shows the number of people in work fell back in the three months to August, compared with the previous quarter. However, the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years old that are either unemployed or economically inactive (not working and not seeking nor available to work) rose compared to the previous year. 

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% in the quarter to August, down from 4.0% a year earlier but higher than the 3.8% rise reported last month. The unemployment rate for women was 3.7% – largely unchanged compared to the previous quarter while the rate for men was 0.1 percentage points lower compared to the previous year at 4.0%.

In the three months to August, the number of people in employment came in at 32.7 million, up 282,000 on the previous year but falling 56,000 on the previous quarter – the first decrease since the three months to October 2017. 

Job vacancies continue to fall in the UK with an estimated 813,000 vacancies between July and September – down 11,000 on the previous period and 34,000 fewer compared to the previous year. The retail sector accounted for around 10.5% of all vacancies in the UK in the three months to September.

Number of vacancies in the UK, seasonally adjusted, July to September 2001 to July to September 2019

Source: ONS

The employment rate for people aged 16 to 64 years came in at 75.9% in the three months to August. This was higher than the 75.6% rise a year earlier but slowed on the 76.1% rise in the previous quarter.

Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain was 3.8% for both total (including bonuses) and regular pay. This suggests that real earnings are currently growing at around 2.1%.

Great Britain average weekly earnings annual growth rates, seasonally adjusted, June to August 2001 to June to August 2019

Source: ONS

For August 2019 in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation):

  • average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £509 per week before tax and other deductions from pay, up from £490 per week for a year earlier
  • average total pay (including bonuses) for employees in Great Britain was £542 per week before tax and other deductions from pay, up from £523 per week for a year earlier

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