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November 2019

The labour market figures published on 12 November confirm that the labour market is clearly slowing, despite a fall in unemployment.

View analysis for November 2019.

  • Unemployment is 1,306,000, down by 8,000 from last month’s published figure (quarterly headline down by 23,000) and the unemployment rate is 3.8%, the same as last month and down by 0.1 percentage points on last quarter.
  • The ONS figure for claimant unemployed is 1,218,000, and is up by 33,000 on last month. The claimant rate is 3.4%.
  • The number of workless young people (not in employment, full-time education or training) is 997,000, up by 33,000 on the quarter, representing 14.5% of the youth population (up by 0.5 percentage points on the quarter).
  • Youth unemployment (including students) is 500,000, and has fallen by 2,000 on the quarter.
  • There are 1.6 unemployed people per vacancy.
  • The employment rate is 76.0% (up by 0.2 percentage points on last month’s published figure and down by 0.1 percentage points in the preferred quarterly measure).

Duncan Melville, chief economist at Learning and Work Institute, commented:

While unemployment fell in the three months to July to September, this was not down to rising employment which also fell, following last month’s published quarterly fall, but to rising economic inactivity as people of working age left the labour market. The level of vacancies also fell for the ninth month in succession and now stand at their lowest level for two years. The level of redundancies has also been rising for the last 12 months and reached 118,000 in July to September - up over 40 percent in the year. The claimant count rose again in October and by the largest amount since July 2011. The evidence clearly points to a worsening in labour market conditions.

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Paul Bivand,  associate director for statistics and analysis at Learning and Work Institute's said:

The claimant count continues to accelerate upwards. At the same time, the numbers of people claiming Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance rose, parallel with the survey estimates of inactivity due to long-term sickness and disability. The estimates for lone parent benefits continued to fall, faster than the pattern for survey respondents who were inactive and looking after family. However, the Universal Credit figures do not currently permit us to identify the numbers of lone parents with full work requirements (equivalent to JSA lone parents under the previous system), so these are not included in Chart 14 below.

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Chart 9: Vacancies – whole economy survey

Vacancies (in the Office for National Statistics survey of the whole economy) fell for the ninth month running, to 800,000. As the number of vacancies is quite volatile, and frequently revised, the Office for National Statistics uses a three-month average.

Chart 6: Young people not in employment, full-time education or training

The number of out of work young people who are not in full-time education (997,000) has risen in the past quarter by 33,000, or 3.4%. The rise was largely among the inactive, with the number of unemployed young people not in full-time education or training rising at a lower rate.

Chart 12: Employment rate in the UK

The employment rate has fallen by 0.1 percentage points over the quarter, to 76.0%.

Chart 13: Claimants for inactive benefits and the economically inactive – inactivity benefits

The number of people inactive owing to long-term sickness rose over the last quarter, as did the benefit figure.

This chart shows claimants of Employment and Support Allowance, and Universal Credit planning for work and those with no work requirements (both out of work) (the orange dots), compared with survey figures for the economically inactive owing to long-term sickness.