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UK labour market: October 2020

Estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

UK labour market: October 2020

Early estimates for September 2020 suggest that there is little change in the number of payroll employees in the UK; up 20,000 compared with August 2020. Since March 2020, the number of payroll employees has fallen by 673,000; however, the larger falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Data from our Labour Force Survey show the employment rate has been decreasing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while the unemployment rate and the level of redundancies have been increasing in recent periods. Total hours worked, while still low, show signs of recovering and there are fewer people temporarily away from work.

Vacancies also show signs of a recovery, with a record quarterly increase in the recent period. Annual growth in employee pay strengthened in August 2020 as employees continued to return to work from furlough; this followed strong falls in months since April when growth was affected by lower pay for furloughed employees, and reduced bonuses.

Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates in this bulletin have been reweighted to account for the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on survey interviewing methods.

  • June to August 2020 figures show the unemployment rate and the number of redundancies continue to increase, while the employment rate continues to fall.

  • Although decreasing over the year, total hours worked had a record increase on the quarter, with the June to August period covering a time when a number of coronavirus lockdown measures were eased.

  • In September 2020, 20,000 more people were in payrolled employment when compared with August 2020 and 673,000 fewer people were in payrolled employment when compared with March 2020.

  • The Claimant Count increased in September 2020, reaching 2.7 million; this includes both those working with low income or hours and those who are not working.

  • After a record low of 343,000 vacancies in April to June 2020, there has been an estimated record quarterly increase of 144,000 to 488,000 vacancies in July to September 2020; vacancies remain below the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels and are 332,000 (40.5%) less than a year ago.

  • Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) among employees for the three months June to August was unchanged from a year ago, while regular pay (excluding bonuses) growth was positive at 0.8%.

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