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August 2019

The labour market figures published on 13 August are a mixed bag, but the outlook for the labour market is unlikely to be positive.

View analysis for August 2019.

  • Unemployment is 1,329,000, up by 37,000 from last month’s published figure (quarterly headline has risen by 31,000) and the unemployment rate 3.9%, is up by 0.1 percentage points on last month and up by 0.1 percentage points on last quarter.
  • The ONS figure for claimant unemployed is 1,163,400, and is up by 28,000 on last month. The claimant rate is 3.2%.
  • The number of workless young people (not in employment, full-time education or training) is 964,000, and has risen by 31,000 on the quarter, representing 13.9% of the youth population (up by 0.5 percentage points).
  • Youth unemployment (including students) is 502,000, and rose by 36,000 on the quarter.
  • There are 1.6 unemployed people per vacancy.
  • The employment rate is 76.1% which rose by 0.1 percentage points on last month’s published figure and showed no change in the preferred quarterly measure.

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

Recent months’ numbers have pointed to a slowing labour market. So, today’s substantial increase in employment - up by over 100,000 in the second quarter of the year come as a positive surprise, and economic inactivity has fallen.

However, unemployment increased in the second quarter by 31,000, following six months of declines, and the level of vacancies has fallen again for the sixth month in succession. The claimant count numbers of people claiming unemployment related benefits are up again, by 28,000 this month and by 264,000 in the last year.

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

This month we have new figures for DWP benefits. These show a 200,000 increase in the number we are counting as incapacity-related. The Universal Credit statistics make it difficult to find the number of people claiming because of ill-health or disability, so these include Employment and Support Allowance claimants, UC claimants who are out of work with no work requirements, and those required to prepare for work. To these should be added the unknown number referred for a Work Capability Assessment.

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Chart 12: Employment rate in the UK

The employment rate showed no change over the quarter, at 76.1%

Chart 1: UK unemployment (ILO)

The latest unemployment figure is 1,329,000. It is up by 37,000 from the figure published last month. The unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points to 3.9%.

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 (964,000) has risen in the past quarter by 31,000 , or 3.4%. The rise was largely among the unemployed, with the much larger number of inactive young people not in full-time education or training rising at a lower rate.

Chart 9: Vacancies – whole economy survey

Vacancies (in the Office for National Statistics survey of the whole economy) fell this month, to 820,000. As the number of vacancies is quite volatile, and frequently revised, the Office for National Statistics uses a three-month average.