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ONS Labour Market Data: November’s Quarterly Overview

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2023
GCE ONS Labour Market November23
  • The latest labour market data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested yet more challenges for employees and job seekers.
  • While the rates of employment and unemployment showed little change, vacancies continued to drop.
  • The Growth Company (GC) offers a range of services to help individuals into sustained employment, as well as to make sure employers can find the right candidates in a competitive market.

Earlier this week, the ONS published its latest quarterly overview of the UK labour market. The report included estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, wage growth, and other employment-related statistics.[i]

Besides high pay growth, the data was generally static when compared to the previous period, though the number of vacancies declined once again.

Quarterly Employment Data

The national employment rate stood at 75.7 percent between July and September 2023 – largely unchanged on the previous valid three-month period (June to August 2023). The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.2 percent. The economic inactivity rate also flatlined at 20.9 percent.

Quarterly Job Vacancies

From July to September 2023, the number of job vacancies stood at 957,000 – a reduction of 58,000, or 5.9 percent, on June to August, and the 16th consecutive decline. Vacancies fell in 16 of the 18 industry sectors.

Quarterly Wage Growth

During July to September, average total pay growth, which includes bonuses, was 7.9 percent. Average total regular pay growth, which excludes bonuses, was 7.7 percent – a slight drop on the previous period.  

According to the ONS, “[i]n real terms (adjusted for inflation using Consumer Prices Index including owner occupier's housing costs (CPIH)), annual growth for total pay rose on the year by 1.4 percent and for regular pay rose on the year by 1.3 percent.”

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[i]  October’s report was delayed due to concerns over the accuracy of Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates. To address these concerns, the ONS changed its methodology. Instead of using LFS data, the statistics body referred to Pay as You Earn Real-Time Information and the Claimant Count for the periods from May to July 2023 onwards. Their latest overview explained that this approach aims to provide “a more holistic view … while the LFS estimates are uncertain”. The newest figures are therefore described as “experimental estimates”, complicating, though not invalidating, like-for-like comparisons with previous datasets.