Labour market LIVE from Learning and Work Institute 17 May 2022

  • Unemployment is 1,257,000, down by 40,000 from last month’s published figure (quarterly headline down by 118,000).
  • The unemployment rate 3.7%, down by 0.1 percentage points on last month and down by 0.3 percentage points on last quarter.
  • The ONS figure for claimant unemployed is 1,612,500, down by 56,900 on last month, and the claimant rate is 4.1%.
  • The number of workless young people (not in employment, full-time education or training) is 880,000, down 29,000 on the quarter, representing 12.9% of the youth population (down 0.4 percentage points).
  • Youth unemployment (including students) is 346,000, down by 28,000 on the quarter. Vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000. There are now 1.0 unemployed people per vacancy.
  • There are now 31,000 more vacancies than ILO unemployed people. The employment rate is 76.0% (up by 0.2 percentage points on last month’s published figure and up by 0.1 percentage points in the preferred quarterly measure).

Learning and Work Institute comment

The labour market figures published on 17 May show that unemployment has fallen, but employment is still 504,000 lower than pre-pandemic due to people leaving the labour market.

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute, commented:
‘Real wages excluding bonuses saw their biggest monthly fall in a decade. This cost of living crisis is only going to intensify this year, making it vital that the Government does more to help people, particularly those on the lowest incomes. The obvious way to do this is to raise benefits, including Universal Credit, to match the rise in prices.

Below the surface, the labour market is less buoyant than it appears. For the first time since records began, there are now fewer unemployed people than vacancies and employers are finding it tough to recruit. However, employment remains well below pre-pandemic levels driven by the continuing rise of older people leaving the workforce. Employers and the Government need to act swiftly to encourage people back into the labour market. ’

Paul Bivand, Associate Director, Statistics and Analysis at Learning and Work Institute added:
‘This month, we have extended the charts so they show the last three years rather than the last two. This is so we continue to include pre-pandemic periods. The ultra-experimental weekly figures we have used from the Office for National Statistics have also been withdrawn, so we are showing the still experimental monthly ones as well as the official quarterly averages.

The monthly figures are suggesting an improvement in all three of employment, unemployment and inactivity in March, but continuing to leave employment below the pre-pandemic level and inactivity above it. ’

Employment is up by 83,000 between October to December 2021 and January to March 2022. In the last 12 months employment is up by 388,000.

Unemployment fell by 118,000 between October to December 2021 and January to March 2022. The unemployment rate has fallen by 0.4 percentage points to 3.7% in the quarter.

Economic inactivity increased by 65,000 between October to December 2021 and January to March 2022. The inactivity rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 21.4% in the quarter.

The national claimant count is down by 56,900.

Youth unemployment is down by 28,000. There are 438,000 unemployed young people, and 279,000 (4.1% of the youth population) who are unemployed and not in full-time education.

Self-employment has fallen by 52,000 this year. The number of employees rose by 413,000 over the year. Involuntary part-time employment fell by 14,000 this quarter to 0.9 million, 11.1% of all part-time workers