UK labour market: February 2019

19-Feb-2019

 Main points for October to December 2018

Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between July to September 2018 and October to December 2018, the number of people in work increased, while the number of unemployed people and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking nor available to work (economically inactive) both fell.

There were an estimated 32.60 million people in work, 167,000 more than for July to September 2018 and 444,000 more than for a year earlier.

The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was estimated at 75.8%, higher than for a year earlier (75.2%) and the joint-highest since comparable estimates began in 1971.

There were an estimated 844,000 people (not seasonally adjusted) in employment on zero-hours contracts in their main job, 57,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

There were an estimated 1.36 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 14,000 fewer than for July to September 2018 and 100,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was estimated at 4.0%, it has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.

There were an estimated 8.63 million people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking nor available to work), 94,000 fewer than for July to September 2018 and 153,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive) was estimated at 20.9%, the lowest figure since comparable estimates began in 1971.

Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 3.4% both excluding and including bonuses compared with a year earlier.

Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 1.2% excluding bonuses, and by 1.3% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

Commenting on today’s employment and wages figures, ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said:

“The labour market remains robust, with the employment rate remaining at a record high and vacancies reaching a new record level. The unemployment rate has also fallen, and for women has dropped below 4% for the first time ever.

“Most of the growth in employment over the past year is among British nationals. However, the number of overseas nationals in work is still rising, despite a drop in the number of so-called ‘A8’ workers, due to more people from non-EU countries being in work.”

Read the main UK labour market statistical bulletin, the latest article on UK and non-UK people in the labour market and the labour market economic commentary.