Published 3 April 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak presents a significant challenge to the UK, and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is working to ensure that the UK has the vital information needed to respond to the impact of this pandemic on our economy and society. This means we will need to ensure that information is provided faster, using new data sources and changing how our surveys operate, to ensure we provide the information necessary as the situation unfolds. The overall impact on the ONS was outlined in a statement released on 19 March 2020, with further details published in another statement on 27 March.

In response, the ONS has already published several labour market-related articles on our special page for the latest data and analysis related to COVID-19. These include:

  • Coronavirus and employment for parents in the UK: October to December 2019 (published 30 March 2020)
  • Coronavirus and employment for those aged 70 years and over in the UK: October 2018 to September 2019 (published 24 March 2020)
  • Coronavirus and homeworking in the UK labour market: 2019 (published 24 March 2020)

Additionally, we have accelerated the roll-out of the online Labour Market Survey that was piloted last year to provide better insights on changes in employment and unemployment. We are exploring whether we can publish early results from this on a more frequent basis. This will supplement our current Labour Force Survey (LFS), which is used to produce the current headline figures. Both surveys have had questions added to assess the impact of COVID-19 on people’s employment and working patterns.

The effects of the outbreak on ONS capacity and capability during this period means we have reviewed the existing labour market releases and will be suspending some of these publications. This action 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 COVID-19, as outlined previously.

The outputs to be suspended are listed, together with the effective date:

Tuesday 21 April

  • Labour disputes published as part of the monthly labour market release along with the annual article (which is not currently scheduled but was previously published in May) – data collection and publication will cease for the foreseeable future. Data for the missing periods will not be available later.

Tuesday 19 May

  • UK and non-UK people in the labour market – the article will be suspended, but all data tables will still be available as part of the main labour market release.

  • Labour market flows suspended for the next release – these relate to October to December 2019, to January to March 2020 and very little COVID-19 impact would be covered; the following release (due in August 2020, for January to March, to April to June 2020) will be considered a priority.

  • Some of the quarterly LFS tables will be suspended as resources require (including LFS earnings tables, job-related training and under/over employment). Outputs that will be given priority for continuing publication include:

    • A04 (State Pension age tracker)
    • A08 (disability)
    • A09 (ethnicity)
    • EMP07 (temporary employees)
    • EMP14 (employee and self-employed by industry)

These are the most used tables or fit with the current policy agenda. Data for missing periods will be available for all these tables when regular publication restarts.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Wednesday 3 June 2020

  • Working and workless households release – to be suspended for at least three months (the next release would cover January to March 2020). We will review the situation before the next scheduled release in August, covering April to June 2020). We will also review when to publish the regional data for 2019 (currently scheduled for 29 July 2020). Data for missing period(s) will be available once publication restarts.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

For more information on how labour market data sources, among others, will be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, see the ONS statement published on 27 March 2020.

If you have any queries about this, please contact