Labour market LIVE from Learning and Work Institute -13 December 2022

  • Unemployment is 1,247,000, up by 23,000 on last month’s published figure, and the unemployment rate is 3.7%, is up by 0.1 percentage points on last month’s figure and up by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter.
  • The ONS figure for claimant unemployed is 1,556,900, up by 30,500 on last month, and the claimant rate is 3.9%.
  • The number of workless young people (not in employment, full-time education or training) is 922,000, is up by 88,000 on the quarter, representing 13.5% of the youth population (increased by 1.3 percentage points).
  • Youth unemployment (including students) is 431,000, increased by 59,000 on the quarter. Vacancies in Sep-Nov 2022 decreased by 65,000 on the quarter to 1,187,000 (in the ONS official series). There are approximately 1.0 unemployed people per vacancy.
  • The employment rate is 75.6%, up by 0.1 percentage points on last month?s published figure and up by 0.2 percentage points in the preferred quarterly measure

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said:

‘Today’s data show almost one million working days lost to strikes in the three months to October, the highest in a decade. While not at ‘winter of discontent’ levels, strike days are likely to increase further with high inflation meaning a whole year of falling real wages, leaving them no higher than before the financial crisis. Pay growth of 2.9% in the public sector was far below 6.8% in the private sector. If the Government wants to improve public services, it will surely need to increase pay with inflation running at almost 10% and high vacancies running in some services.

There was a slight fall in the number of people outside the labour market, but economic inactivity remains higher than pre-pandemic. As a result, employment is still 300,000 below pre-pandemic levels with the UK having the slowest employment recovery from the pandemic in the G7. The Government can unlock a ?23 billion economic boost by using some of the ?2 billion underspend on its Plan for Jobs to widen access to find work to more over 50s and disabled people. ?

Dr Helen Gray, Chief Economist at Learning and Work Institute, said:

‘The latest figures from ONS reflect the recent rise in industrial action, with the highest number of working days lost due to labour disputes since November 2011. This is unsurprising in the context of pay falling by an average of 2.7 per cent when adjusted for inflation – one of the largest reductions seen over the past two decades. Although nominal pay has risen in both the public and private sectors in recent months, private sector pay increases continue to outstrip those in the public sector. This makes it all the more likely that industrial action in the public sector in particular will continue into 2023.

On a more positive note, the small reduction in the rate of economic inactivity is to be welcomed, especially as the drop is most pronounced amongst those aged 50-64 (the age group most likely to become economically inactive during the pandemic). However, there are still 565,000 more people who are economically inactive than before the pandemic and all industries continue to have a higher number of vacancies than in early 2020, despite recent reductions. There is still is a long way to go to reverse the rise in economic inactivity and fall in employment seen during the pandemic.?

Labour Market Briefing

Employment increased by 27,000 between May to July 2022 and August to October 2022. In the last 12 months employment increased by 191,000.

Unemployment rose by 23,000 between May to July 2022 and August to October 2022. Over this period, the unemployment rate is has risen by 0.1 percentage points to 3.7% in the most recent quarter.

Economic inactivity decreased by 76,000 between May to July 2022 and August to October 2022. The inactivity rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 21.5% in the quarter.

The national claimant count has risen by 30,500 to 1,556,900

Youth unemployment rose by 59,000. There are 431,000 unemployed young people, and 284,000 (4.2% of the youth population) who are unemployed and not in full-time education.

Self-employment fell by 43,000 this year. The number of employees increased by 253,000 over the year. Involuntary part-time employment decreased by 29,000 this quarter to 0.8 million, 9.7% of all part-time workers