Labour market overview, UK: July 2020

Estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

27 July 2020 13:23

An error was found in Table 17 of the accompanying PDF: International comparisons of employment and unemployment. The year on year changes of employment were incorrect, this was due to a manual processing error. This has now been corrected.

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16 July 2020 09:34

The estimate of average actual weekly hours was incorrectly reported, the correct estimate for March to May 2020 is 26.6 hours, this was caused by a processing error. This affected the text in section 5 of this release and Table 1 - Sampling Variability.

Processes will be reviewed to avoid this error in future releases.

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This is an accredited national statistic.

Cyswllt:
Email Debra Leaker

Dyddiad y datganiad:
16 July 2020

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
11 August 2020

2. Main points

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic took hold, the labour market weakened markedly, but that rate of decline slowed into June, though this is before recent job losses were reported.

Early indicators for June 2020 suggest that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls is down around 650,000 compared with March 2020. The largest falls were seen at the start of the pandemic and while the number of payroll employees is still falling the decline is slowing. Flows analysis suggests that the falls in May and June are mainly because of fewer people moving into payrolled employment.

In June 2020, the Claimant Count has fallen and experimental monthly data show vacancies have increased slightly.

Employment is weakening and unemployment is largely unchanged, but there are some signs of economic inactivity rising, with people out of work not currently looking for work. Hours worked has continued to fall reaching record lows both on the year and on the quarter.

There are still a large number of people temporarily away from work, including furloughed workers, although this is falling through May. New analysis shows that there were around half a million people away from work because of the pandemic and receiving no pay.

Pay fell for most measures in May 2020, declining more in industries where furloughing was most prominent, many of these being the lowest-paying industries, in particular accommodation and food service activities.

  • March to May figures show weakening employment rates, with self-employed and part-time workers seeing reductions; despite these falls, unemployment is not rising, because of increases in people out of work, but not currently looking for work; the reduction in total hours worked is a record both on the year and the quarter despite a third of the period covered being prior to the implementation of coronavirus (COVID-19) measures.

  • Early estimates for June 2020 from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information (PAYE RTI) indicate that the number of payroll employees fell by 2.2% (649,000) compared with March 2020.

  • The Claimant Count fell slightly in June 2020 reaching 2.6 million; this includes both those working with low income or hours and those who are not working.

  • Vacancies in the UK in April to June 2020 are at the lowest level since the Vacancy Survey began in April to June 2001, at an estimated 333,000; this is 23% lower than the previous record low in April to June 2009.

  • The three months to May 2020 saw strong falls in pay; total pay fell by 0.3% on the year, this equates to a fall of 1.3% when taking into account inflation.

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The majority of data in this bulletin come from surveys of households and businesses. It is not possible to survey every household and business each month, so these statistics are estimates based on samples.

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3. Coronavirus and measuring the labour market

A blog published by Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, published today, explains some of the differences between the existing and new data sources.

The data presented in this bulletin are collected from various sources. Each cover different reference periods or count dates and are therefore impacted differently by the coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing and lockdown measures.

Figure 1 shows the data reported in this bulletin (dark bars) alongside their different reference periods and count dates (white text). The main coronavirus dates are included to show how much of the data presented were impacted by the implementation of coronavirus social distancing and lockdown measures.

Figure 1: Impact of the main coronavirus (COVID-19) dates on labour market data sources

Data source reporting periods; reference periods and count dates alongside main coronavirus (COVID-19) dates

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Note:
  1. Workforce Jobs and Public sector employment data were first published on 16 June, they have not been updated this month but are included for completeness.
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4. Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity

Figure 2: Employment is weakening, unemployment largely unchanged but there are some signs of economic inactivity rising with people out of work not currently looking for work compared with the previous quarter

UK employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates, seasonally adjusted, between March to May 2010 and March to May 2020

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Data download

Employment

Employment measures the number of people aged 16 years and over in paid work and those who had a job that they were temporarily away from (which they are expecting to return to). The employment rate is the proportion of people aged between 16 and 64 years who are in employment.

Estimates for March to May 2020 show 32.95 million people aged 16 years and over in employment, 199,000 more than a year earlier but 126,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

For March to May 2020:

  • the estimated employment rate for all people was 76.4%; this is 0.3 percentage points up on the year but 0.2 percentage points down on the quarter

  • the estimated employment rate for men was 80.1%; this is 0.1 percentage points down on the year and 0.4 percentage points down on the quarter

  • the estimated employment rate for women was 72.7%; this is 0.7 percentage points up on the year but largely unchanged on the quarter

Despite the estimated fall in employment of 126,000 on the quarter, the estimated number of redundancies has not increased significantly over the period. Instead, experimental estimates based on returns for individual weeks suggest the number of respondents starting a new job declined greatly through the March to May period compared with the same period in previous years, see Figure 3. Further details of the experimental weekly figures can be found in the Single month article.

While the Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimate of self-employment is showing record decreases (down 178,000 on the quarter to 4.85 million), the number of employees in employment continues to increase for March to May 2020 (up 97,000 on the quarter to 27.95 million).

Estimates of the number of people in employment on the LFS are consistent with the International Labour Organization (ILO) definition of employment. Under this definition employment includes both those who are in work during the reference period and those who are temporarily away from a job. People do not necessarily need to be paid during their absence, as long as they retain enough personal job attachment to consider the absence to be temporary. The experimental weekly data show people who were employed, but temporarily away from work, significantly increased at the end of March continuing into April (up around 6 million) but started to fall slightly in May, see Figure 4.

Experimental weekly LFS estimates suggest that during May 2020 around 450,000 to 500,000 employees, who identified themselves as being temporarily away from their jobs because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, were receiving no pay. While these people would still be considered employed under the ILO definition, it is likely that they would not be reported in Real Time Information (RTI) data (which showed a fall of approximately 575,000 between March and May 2020) based on payroll information.

Further details of the experimental RTI data can be found in the PAYE RTI bulletin and further details of the experimental weekly figures can be found in the Single month article.

Unemployment

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. The unemployment rate is not the proportion of the total population who are unemployed. It is the proportion of the economically active population (those in work plus those seeking and available to work) who are unemployed.

Estimates for March to May 2020 show an estimated 1.35 million people were unemployed, 55,000 more than a year earlier but 17,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

For March to May 2020:

  • the estimated UK unemployment rate for all people was 3.9%; 0.1 percentage points higher than a year earlier but largely unchanged on the quarter

  • the estimated UK unemployment rate for men was 4.0%; this is 0.1 percentage points higher than a year earlier but 0.2 percentage points down on the quarter

  • the estimated UK unemployment rate for women was 3.8%; this is 0.2 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.1 percentage points higher on the quarter

Despite the lack of overall increase in the number of unemployed, the estimated number of people unemployed aged 16 to 24 years increased by 47,000 on the year while other age groups remained steady.

The relative flatness of the unemployment figures may seem surprising, given that there are notable decreases in the number in employment. However, some initial exploratory analysis has suggested that a larger than usual proportion of those leaving employment are not currently looking for a new job and therefore becoming economically inactive, rather than unemployed. In addition, an increased number of respondents who were previously unemployed have moved to economic inactivity in March to May 2020, suggesting that some who were previously unemployed are no longer looking for work.

Economic inactivity

Economic inactivity measures people without a job but who are not classed as unemployed because they have not been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and/or they are unable to start work within the next two weeks. Our headline measure of economic inactivity is for those aged between 16 and 64 years.

Estimates for March to May 2020 show 8.46 million people aged between 16 and 64 years not in the labour force (economically inactive), 157,000 fewer than a year earlier.

For March to May 2020:

  • the estimated economic inactivity rate for all people was 20.4%; this is down by 0.4 percentage points on the year but up 0.2 percentage points on the quarter

  • the estimated economic inactivity rate for men was 16.5%; this is up by 0.1 percentage points on the year and up a joint record high of 0.5 percentage points on the quarter

  • the estimated economic inactivity rate for women was 24.3%; this is down by 0.9 percentage points on the year and down by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter

Those who are economically inactive and who want a job increased by a record 257,000 on the year and a record 253,000 on the quarter, while those who do not want a job decreased by a record 414,000 on the year and 161,000 on the quarter. This suggests that people who want employment are not currently looking for work, and further explains why we are not seeing a large rise in unemployment.

Estimates for March to May 2020 show a quarterly increase of 92,000 in the number of people who are economically inactive in the UK. This was mainly driven by people who were economically inactive because of other reasons (up a record 274,000 on the quarter to a record high of 1,228,000).

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5. Hours worked

Between March to May 2019 and March to May 2020, total actual weekly hours worked in the UK decreased by 175.3 million, or 16.7%, to 877.1 million hours. This was the largest annual decrease since estimates began in 1971, with total hours dropping to its lowest level since May to July 1997.

Over the same period, average actual weekly hours fell by 5.5 hours to a record low of 26.6 hours. The “accommodation and food service activities” industrial sector saw the biggest annual fall in average actual weekly hours; down 12.0 hours to a record low of 16.0 hours per week.

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6. Pay As You Earn Real Time Information

Another source that shows current labour market conditions is experimental data of the number of payroll employees and median earnings using HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) Pay As You Earn Real Time Information (PAYE RTI).

Latest figures show a fall in payroll employees in recent months. Early estimates for June 2020 from PAYE RTI indicate that the number of payroll employees fell by 2.2% compared with March 2020. In June, 649,000 fewer people were in paid employment when compared with March 2020 and 74,000 fewer when compared with May 2020.

Declines in the number of paid employees in recent months can be explained by examining inflows and outflows from payroll employment, included in the PAYE RTI bulletin for the first time this month (see Figure 7). For most of the periods prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, outflows and inflows were broadly equal – with inflows being slightly higher, resulting in a net increase in paid employment.

In recent periods, the changes in inflows and outflows driving the fall in payroll employees have differed. The fall in paid employment in April 2020 was because of, in (broadly) equal part, an increase in outflows and a fall in inflows compared with their pre-coronavirus trends. However, in May and June outflows fell below their pre-coronavirus level while inflows have continued to decrease. As a result, the fall in paid employment in the latest two months can be explained primarily through lower than usual inflows, rather than higher than usual outflows.

Early estimates for June 2020 indicate that median monthly pay increased to £1,827, an increase of 1.0% when compared with the same period of the previous year.

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7. Claimant Count (Experimental Statistics)

These Claimant Count Experimental Statistics relate to 11 June 2020. Enhancements to Universal Credit as part of the UK government's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) mean that an increasing number of people became eligible for unemployment-related benefit support, although still in work. Consequently changes in the Claimant Count will not be wholly because of changes in the number of people who are not in work. We are not able to identify to what extent people who are employed or unemployed have affected the numbers.

More detail on the Claimant Count can be found in the Employment in the UK bulletin.

Between May 2020 and June 2020, the Claimant Count decreased by 28,100 (1.1%) to 2.6 million (Figure 8). Since March 2020, the claimant count has increased by 112.2%, or 1.4 million.

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8. Vacancies

For April to June 2020, there were an estimated 333,000 vacancies in the UK, the lowest level since the Vacancy Survey began in April to June 2001. This is 497,000 (59.9%) fewer than a year earlier and 463,000 (58.1%) fewer than the three months to March 2020. These are the largest annual and quarterly falls in the history of the data time series.

There are quarterly decreases in all sectors. Contributing most strongly to the quarterly movement were the “wholesale, retail trade and repair of motor vehicles” industrial sector, down 92,000 (70.0%) and the “accommodation and food service activities” industrial sector, down by 78,000 (91.1%), both record quarterly falls. These industries have been impacted heavily by social distancing measures, with hotels, restaurants and retail stores being closed as a result.

The experimental monthly vacancies data show that the number of vacancies fell to a record low in May 2020, but has increased slightly in June 2020.

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9. Earnings growth

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Average weekly earnings estimates are based on the pay period including the last week of each month. For April and May 2020 this was after coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions were introduced. For March 2020, only a low proportion of employees' pay is affected, as payrolls are often set by mid-month (before restrictions were introduced).

The rate of earnings growth has been slowing since April to June 2019, when it stood at 4.0% for total pay and 3.9% for regular pay, the highest nominal pay growth rates since 2008. It had slowed to 2.9% in December 2019 to February 2020 immediately prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For the three months to May 2020, compared with a year earlier:

  • total nominal pay fell by 0.3%

  • regular nominal pay increased by 0.7%

  • total real pay fell by 1.3%

  • regular real pay fell by 0.2%

Pay is now growing at a slower rate than inflation, at negative 1.3% for total real pay, the lowest rate since April to June 2014. Regular pay growth in real terms is also negative, at negative 0.2%. The difference between the two measures is because of subdued bonuses, which fell by an average negative 14.5% (in nominal terms) in the three months March to May 2020.

The three lowest-paid industries, accommodation and food service activities, the retail trade and repairs industry, and the arts, entertainment and recreation industry saw falls in pay compared with May 2019.

This is closely linked to differing numbers of employees being furloughed across industries (as indicated by HM Revenue and Customs data published on 15 July and Office for National Statistics estimates published fortnightly), affecting the numbers of hours worked (as shown by Labour Force Survey estimates). The decline in pay received by employees, especially those in lower-paid jobs, may contribute to increases in benefits claims because of decreased household income.

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10. Economic commentary

The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the UK economy continues to evolve. Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.8% in May 2020 following April’s record fall of 20.4%. However, retail sales volume rebounded in May 2020 with an increase of 12.0% compared with the previous month, although sales were still down by 13.1% on February.

External indicators also show some improvement in economic activity, with businesses being able to reopen following the easing of the lockdown restrictions and staff returning to work. The IHS Markit/CIPS PMI indices show that manufacturing (PDF, 168KB) and construction (PDF, 147MB) output increased in June, while the services (DOCX, 30KB) sector reported that new orders fell at a slower pace compared with May. Nonetheless, all three PMI indices reported that employment levels in each sector continued to fall.

The results from the external indicators are reflected in the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) (Wave 7) for the period 1 June to 14 June 2020. The results showed that, of the responding businesses, 23% of the workforce were furloughed. Of the businesses that were trading, 6% of the total workforce had returned from furlough in the two weeks prior to completing the questionnaire. The results of the Insights of the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey show that the proportion of businesses’ workforce that had been furloughed dropped slightly from 27% to 23% over the period 23 March 2020 to 14 June 2020.

The Labour Force Survey for the period March to May 2020 showed further impacts of the coronavirus on the labour market. Compared with the period December 2019 to February 2020, the employment rate fell marginally, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged, while the inactivity rate increased slightly. Early estimates for June 2020 from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) data indicate that the number of paid employees fell by 1.9% compared with June 2019.

The muted movement in the unemployment rate is likely to reflect the fact that the official definition of unemployment only includes those who have searched for work in the past month. As also commented by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), in their Fiscal Sustainability Report, it is therefore possible that, at least in the short-term, falls in employment will be associated with a rise in measured inactivity among those who do not meet the official definition.

Similarly, changes in the employment rate do not reflect the proportion of workforce being furloughed, which is still counted as employed. Hours worked by the UK workforce therefore usefully complements the official figures; average actual weekly hours continued to decrease in the three months to May 2020, reaching a record low.

Redundancies remain within normal fluctuations; however, external indicators show that redundancies might be increasing. For example the Bank of England’s Agents’ summary of business conditions for the second quarter of 2020 highlights that redundancies have been announced or have been considered in sectors such as travel and tourism, automotive, aerospace and construction.

The ONS Vacancy Survey for the period April to June 2020 shows that demand for labour continued to weaken, reaching a record low. Vacancies remained at a high level until the start of the coronavirus social distancing measures introduced in March, where they have since fallen more sharply than during the 2008 to 2009 recession.

Analysis of Adzuna adverts data shows that between 26 June and 3 July 2020, total online job adverts stood at around half of their 2019 average. The volume of online job adverts in retail, and catering and hospitality increased in this period, reflecting a growing expectation for shops and bars to reopen. The July KPMG REC UK Report on Jobs survey also reported a further drop in hiring activity, with redundancies and furloughed workers leading to the steepest increase in labour supply since January 2009.

In real terms, total average weekly earnings growth continued to decline in the three months to May 2020, while regular average weekly earnings contracted (negative 0.2%) for the first time since the three months to January 2018. The RTI flash earnings estimate for June 2020 show that earnings have increased by 1.0% compared with the same period of the previous year. The KPMG and REC report on Jobs (PDF, 258KB) survey also reported that starting pay for both permanent and short-term staff fell further in June as demand for workers remained weak.

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11. Labour market data

Summary of labour market statistics
Dataset A01 | Released 16 July 2020
Estimates of employment, unemployment and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity
Dataset A02 SA | Released 16 July 2020
Estimates of UK employment, unemployment and economic inactivity for people aged 16 years and over and people aged between 16 and 64 years based on the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Average weekly earnings
Dataset EARN01 | Released 16 July 2020
Estimates of Great Britain earnings growth based on the Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey.

Vacancies by industry
Dataset VACS02 | Released 16 July 2020
Estimates of the number of UK job vacancies for each industry, based on a survey of businesses.

Real Time Information statistics
Dataset Real Time Information statistics | Released 16 July 2020 Earnings and employment statistics from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) (Experimental Statistics) seasonally adjusted.

Claimant Count
Dataset CLA01 | Released 16 July 2020
Experimental estimates of the Claimant Count including Jobseeker's Allowance and out of work Universal Credit claimants.

Labour Force Survey Weekly estimates
Dataset X07 | Released 16 July 2020
Labour Force Survey (LFS) weekly estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and hours in the UK. All estimates are calculated from highly experimental weekly Labour Force Survey datasets.

View all related data on the related data page. Alternatively, Nomis provides free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources.

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12. Glossary

Average weekly earnings

Average weekly earnings measures money paid by employers to employees in Great Britain before tax and other deductions from pay. The estimates are not just a measure of pay rises as they also reflect, for example, changes in the overall structure of the workforce. More high-paid jobs in the economy would have an upward effect on the earnings growth rate.

Economic inactivity

People not in the labour force (also known as economically inactive are not in employment but do not meet the internationally accepted definition of unemployment because they have not been seeking work within the last four weeks and/or they are unable to start work in the next two weeks. The economic inactivity rate is the proportion of people aged between 16 and 64 years who are not in the labour force.

Employment

Employment measures the number of people in paid work or who had a job that they were temporarily away from (for example, because they were on holiday or off sick). This differs from the number of jobs because some people have more than one job. The employment rate is the proportion of people aged between 16 and 64 years who are in employment. A more detailed explanation is available in our guide to labour market statistics.

Unemployment

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. The unemployment rate is not the proportion of the total population who are unemployed. It is the proportion of the economically active population (those in work plus those seeking and available to work) who are unemployed.

Vacancies

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 businesses 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).

Claimant Count

The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits.

The Claimant Count estimates are currently designated as Experimental Statistics because the Universal Credit estimates are still being developed by the Department for Work and Pensions. However, the Claimant Count estimates do provide the best available estimates of the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in the UK.

The Claimant Count does not meet the internationally agreed definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The estimates are sourced from the Jobcentre Plus administrative system.

There is a large degree of overlap between the Claimant Count and unemployment, although the latter figures are generally much higher. People who are not claimants can appear among the unemployed if they are not entitled to unemployment-related benefits. For example:

  • people who are only looking for part-time work

  • young people under 18 years are not usually eligible to claim Jobseeker's Allowance

  • students looking for vacation work

  • people who have left their job voluntarily

Some people recorded in the Claimant Count would not be counted as unemployed. For example, in certain circumstances people can claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit while they have relatively low earnings from part-time work. These people would not be unemployed.

Pay as You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI)

These data come from HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) PAYE RTI system. They cover the whole population rather than a sample of people or companies, and they will allow for more detailed estimates of the population. The release is classed as Experimental Statistics as the methodologies used to produce the statistics are still in their development phase. As a result, the series are subject to revisions.

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) is the system employers and pension providers use to take Income Tax and National Insurance contributions before they pay wages or pensions to employees and pensioners. This publication relates to employees only and not pensioners.

A more detailed glossary is available.

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13. Measuring the data

Coronavirus

In response to the developing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are working to ensure that we continue to publish economic statistics. For more information, please see COVID-19 and the production of statistics.

We have reviewed all publications and data published as part of the labour market release in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to the postponement of some publications and datasets to ensure that we can continue to publish our main labour market data. This will protect the delivery and quality of our remaining outputs as well as ensuring we can respond to new demands as a direct result of the coronavirus.

For more information on how labour market data sources, among others, will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, see the statement published on 27 March 2020. A further article published on 6 May 2020, detailed some of the challenges that we have faced in producing estimates at this time. A blog published by Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, also published today explains why are nearly half a million employees not being paid.

Our latest data and analysis on the impact of the coronavirus on the UK economy and population is now available on our dedicated COVID-19 webpage. This will be the hub for all special coronavirus-related publications, drawing on all available data.

After EU withdrawal

As the UK leaves the EU, it is important that our statistics continue to be of high quality and are internationally comparable. During the transition period, those UK statistics that align with EU practice and rules will continue to do so in the same way as before 31 January 2020.

After the transition period, we will continue to produce our labour market statistics in line with the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice for Statistics and in accordance with International Labour Organization (ILO) definitions and agreed international statistical guidance.

The employment, unemployment and economic inactivity estimates rely on data collected from the LFS, a survey run by field interviewers with people across the UK every month.

The LFS performance and quality monitoring reports provide data on response rates and other quality related issues for the LFS, including breakdowns of response by LFS wave, region and question-specific response issues. The average weekly earnings and vacancies estimates rely on data collected from surveys of employers.

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the following Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) reports:

LFS QMI

Average weekly earnings QMI

Vacancy Survey QMI

Claimant Count QMI

Future publication dates

Because of a public holiday in Northern Ireland, the July labour market publication dates have been moved two days later, moving from the usual Tuesday publication to Thursday from July 2020. This change will ensure that users across the UK have the same access to advice from the teams who produce the statistics on the day of release. For further information, please see Statement on changing the release dates of ONS statistics to avoid public holidays.

11 August 2020
15 September 2020
13 October 2020
10 November 2020
15 December 2020
26 January 2021

Sampling variability

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14. Strengths and limitations

Accuracy of the statistics: estimating and reporting uncertainty

The figures in this bulletin come from surveys, which gather information from a sample rather than from the whole population. The sample is designed to be as accurate as possible given practical limitations such as time and cost constraints. Results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This can have an impact on how changes in the estimates should be interpreted, especially for short-term comparisons.

As the number of people available in the sample gets smaller, the variability of the estimates that we can make from that sample size gets larger. Estimates for small groups (for example, unemployed people aged between 16 and 17 years), which are based on small subsets of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) sample, are less reliable and tend to be more volatile than for larger aggregated groups (for example, the total number of unemployed people).

In general, changes in the numbers (and especially the rates) reported in this bulletin between three-month periods are small and are not usually greater than the level that can be explained by sampling variability. Short-term movements in reported rates should be considered alongside longer-term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in other sources to give a fuller picture.

Further information is available in A guide to labour market statistics.

Where to find data about uncertainty and reliability

Dataset A11 shows sampling variabilities for estimates derived from the LFS.

Sampling variability information for average weekly earnings growth rates is available from the "Sampling Variability" worksheets within datasets EARN01 and EARN03. The sampling variability of the three-month average vacancies level is around plus or minus 1.5% of that level. Information on revisions is available in the Labour market statistics revisions policy.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Debra Leaker
labour.market@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 455400