Vacancies and jobs in the UK: February 2023

Estimates of the number of vacancies and jobs for the UK.

Nid hwn yw'r datganiad diweddaraf. Gweld y datganiad diweddaraf

Email Tom Evans

Dyddiad y datganiad:
14 February 2023

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
14 March 2023

2. Main points

  • The number of vacancies in November 2022 to January 2023 was 1,134,000, which is a decrease of 76,000 from August to October 2022.

  • Quarterly growth fell for the seventh consecutive period to negative 6.3% in November 2022 to January 2023, with vacancies falling in 16 out of 18 industry sectors.

  • In November 2022 to January 2023, total vacancies were down by 135,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 338,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.

  • In October to December 2022, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.1, which is up from the previous quarter (July to September 2022) because of significant falls in the number of vacancies in recent periods.

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3. Vacancies for November 2022 to January 2023

In November 2022 to January 2023 the estimated number of vacancies fell by 76,000 on the quarter to 1,134,000, which is the seventh consecutive quarterly fall since May to July 2022.

The headline vacancy estimates are based on three-month averages which naturally involve some time lag. Insights into trends in January 2023 are provided by two experimental sources, single-month vacancy estimates (see Strengths and limitations), in Dataset X06, and Adzuna Online job advert estimates. Although vacancy numbers increased in dataset X06 for January 2023, these figures are not seasonally adjusted and should be used with caution when compared with the seasonally adjusted three-month estimates.

The overall quarterly growth rate fell to negative 6.3% in November 2022 to January 2023, with the rate of growth falling in 16 of the 18 industry sectors. The industries showing the largest falls were construction, and real estate activities, at negative 14.2% and negative 13.9% respectively.

November 2022 to January 2023 saw the number of vacancies fall on the quarter for the seventh consecutive period, decreasing by 76,000. The industry sectors displaying the largest falls in vacancy numbers were administration and support service activities, down by 9,000; manufacturing, and education, both down by 8,000 on the quarter. The two industries to show growth on the quarter were mining and quarrying, and financial and insurance activities, but their combined growth only provided 1,000 more vacancies.

The fall in the number of vacancies reflects uncertainty across industries, as survey respondents continue to cite economic pressures as a factor in holding back on recruitment.

When comparing November 2022 to January 2023 with the same time last year, total vacancies decreased by 135,000 (10.6%), with the largest fall in accommodation and food service activities, which was down by 26,000. However, the total number of vacancies remains 338,000 above January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels, with human health and social work activities showing the largest increase, at 70,000.

In October to December 2022, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was at 1.1, up slightly from 1.0 in the previous quarter. While this ratio remains very low by historical standards, this quarterly increase suggests a slight easing of recent tightness in the labour market, following consecutive falls in vacancy numbers.

For the sixth consecutive period there was no quarterly growth in the number of vacancies in any business size band.

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4. Jobs, vacancies and wider labour market measures

Our estimated number of workforce jobs for September 2022 (next updated March 2023) was a record high of 36.2 million, which is an increase of 541,000 jobs from December 2019 following quarterly increases throughout 2021 and into 2022.

The total number of jobs includes both employee jobs and self-employment jobs, with a rise in employee jobs being slightly offset by a fall in self-employment jobs in the quarter to September 2022. Employee jobs in September 2022 have continued to grow and are now at a record high of nearly 31.9 million, 1.1 million above their December 2019 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level. However, this rate of growth has not been seen in the self-employment jobs, that remain 588,000 below December 2019 levels. The growth in the employee jobs component of workforce jobs up to September 2022 can also be seen in the number of payrolled employees reported in the Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, seasonally adjusted dataset, which has increased every month since February 2021.

Across industries the recovery has varied, with 8 of the 20 the sectors still below their pre-coronavirus levels in September 2022. The sectors showing large number of job losses, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, and construction have been offset by large gains in human health and social work; professional, scientific and technical activities; and information and communication.

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5. Vacancies and jobs data

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 14 February 2023
Estimates of vacancies by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

Workforce jobs summary
Dataset JOBS01 | Released 13 December 2022
Estimates of jobs by type of job (including employee jobs, self-employment jobs, HM Forces and government-supported trainees).

Workforce jobs by industry
Dataset JOBS02 | Released 13 December 2022
Estimates of jobs by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007).

X06: Single month vacancies estimates (not designated as National Statistics)
Dataset X06 | Released 14 February 2023
Single Month Vacancy Survey estimates, not seasonally adjusted.

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6. Glossary


Vacancies are defined as positions for which employers are actively seeking recruits from outside their business or organisation. The estimates are based on the Vacancy Survey; this is a survey of employers designed to provide estimates of the stock of vacancies across the economy, excluding agriculture, forestry and fishing (a small sector for which the collection of estimates would not be practical).


A job is an activity performed for an employer or customer by a worker in exchange for payment, usually in cash, or in kind, or both. The number of jobs is not the same as the number of people in employment. This is because a person can have more than one job. The number of jobs is the sum of employee jobs from employer surveys, self-employment jobs from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), those in HM Forces and government-supported trainees. The number of people in employment is measured by the LFS; these estimates are available in our Employment in the UK bulletin.

A more detailed glossary is available.

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7. Measuring the data

Making our published spreadsheets accessible

Following the Government Statistical Service (GSS) guidance on releasing statistics in spreadsheets, we will be amending our published tables over the coming months to improve usability, accessibility and machine readability of our published statistics. To help users change to the new formats we will be publishing sample versions of a selection of our tables and, where practical, initially publish the tables in both the new and current formats. If you have any questions or comments, please email


For more information on how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see our Coronavirus and the effects on UK labour market statistics article, published on 6 May 2020, which details some of the challenges that we have faced in producing estimates at this time.

An article, published on 11 December 2020, compares our labour market data sources and discusses some of the main differences.

Workforce Jobs estimates include data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). From the 15 July 2021, an improved LFS weighting methodology, better accounting for population changes through the pandemic was implemented, affecting periods from January to March 2020 onwards. For more information on the changes to LFS weighting methodology through the pandemic please see our article on the LFS Survey weighting methodology.


The data in this bulletin come from surveys of businesses. It is not feasible to survey every business in the UK, so these statistics are estimates based on samples, not precise figures.


Estimates of vacancies are obtained from the Vacancy Survey, a survey of employers. Adzuna Online job advert estimates are also published as part of the Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators bulletin.


Estimates of jobs are compiled from a number of sources, including Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES), the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Surveys (QPSES) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). STES is a group of surveys that collect employment and turnover information from private sector businesses. In December of each year, the jobs estimates are "benchmarked" to the latest estimates from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES).

The STES estimates are drawn for a specified date early in the last month of each calendar quarter. The March 2020 data were from 13 March 2020 before the start of coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing measures.

For more information on how jobs data are measured, please see the Measuring the Data section in our previous release.

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Vacancy Survey QMI and Workforce jobs QMI.

Sampling variability

The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level is around plus or minus 1.3% of that level expressed as a coefficient of variation, giving a 95% confidence interval for estimates of approximately plus or minus 32,000.

The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level, for a typical industrial sector is around plus or minus 6% of that level.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Information of the strengths and limitations of this bulletin are available in our previous release.

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10. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 14 February 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: February 2023

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Tom Evans
Ffôn: +44 1633 651833