1. Introduction

This article explains the developments and revisions to the workforce jobs (WFJ) series, released by Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 11 December 2018 in the Labour market statistical bulletin.

Workforce jobs is a quarterly measure of the number of jobs in the UK and is the preferred measure of the change in jobs by industry. It is a compound source that draws on a range of employer surveys, household surveys and administrative sources. WFJ is the sum of employee jobs (EJ) measured primarily by employer surveys (predominantly the Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES) and the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES), self-employment jobs (SEJ) from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), and government-supported trainees (GST) and Her Majesty’s Forces (HMF) from administrative sources and the LFS. A variety of outputs by industry, region, gender and full-time or part-time status are produced for a range of publications and users.

This article explains, in detail, the revisions that have been made to the WFJ series since December 2017 as a result of:

  • benchmarking to the latest estimates from the annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES); these revisions will go back to December 2015
  • changes to seasonal parameters following a seasonal adjustment review; these revisions will go back to September 1981
  • revisions to public sector employment (PSE) (impact on WFJ begins in March 2008)

  • revisions to STES for June 2017 onwards, due to updates in data supplied or late data

  • revisions back to September 2012 to the government-supported trainees (GSTs) series due to revised data from the devolved administrations

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2. Benchmarking Great Britain employee jobs to the Business Register Employment Survey

Benchmarking is an annual process to align the quarterly Great Britain employee jobs (EJ) series to the latest estimates from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES). BRES is based on a sample of approximately 85,000 reporting units1, a much larger sample than the Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES), and so generally is considered to produce more accurate and detailed estimates of the level of employment. BRES estimates refer to September of a given year. The private sector element of the Great Britain EJ series has been benchmarked to the equivalent from BRES for the periods September 2016 and September 2017 (the latest period available).

Notes for: Benchmarking Great Britain employee jobs to the Business Register Employment Survey

  1. Reporting units hold the mailing address to which survey questionnaires are sent. The questionnaire can cover the enterprise, or parts of the enterprise identified by lists of local units.
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3. Seasonal adjustment

Seasonal adjustment is the process of identifying and removing the seasonal components from a series to leave the underlying trend and irregular components. The revised workforce jobs series have undergone a seasonal adjustment review, by our Time Series Analysis branch, causing revisions back to September 1981.

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4. Changes to estimates of public sector employment

Workforce jobs (WFJ) makes use of our official public sector employment (PSE) estimates for Great Britain. These inputs are not benchmarked as they are the definitive measure of PSE. The data received at September 2018 have led to revisions back to March 2008 in WFJ. Further information is available in the Public sector employment, UK: September 2018 statistical bulletin.

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5. Late or revised data

The private sector employee jobs data come from sample surveys. Each quarter revisions to data supplied or late data are incorporated for the previous quarter in line with the revisions policy. Revisions or late data for earlier periods (June 2017 onwards) have now been included.

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6. Government-supported trainees

Revised estimates of government-supported trainees taken on from the devolved administrations caused revisions back to September 2012.

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8. Annex A: Workforce jobs sources

Table 1 provides a list of the components and sources of the workforce jobs estimates.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Methodoleg

Mark Williams
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 456728