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October 2019

The labour market figures published on 15 October point to a labour market that is slowing. With ongoing Brexit uncertainty, it is difficult to see the situation improving.

View analysis for October 2019.

  • Unemployment is 1,314,000, which is up by 20,000 from last month’s published figure (quarterly headline increased by 22,000) and the unemployment rate 3.9%, has risen by 0.1 percentage points on last month and is also up by 0.1 percentage points on last quarter.
  • The ONS figure for claimant unemployed is 1,192,600, and has risen by 21,100 on last month, and the claimant rate is 3.3%.
  • The number of workless young people (not in employment, full-time education or training) is 1,007,000, up by 58,000 on the quarter, representing 14.6% of the youth population (up by 0.9 percentage points).
  • Youth unemployment (including students) is 494,000, up by 1,000 on the quarter.
  • There are 1.6 unemployed people per vacancy.
  • The employment rate is 75.9% and has fallen by 0.3 percentage points on last month’s published figure (and is down by 0.2 percentage points in the preferred quarterly measure).

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

The level of employment has fallen in the three months from June to August, and today’s labour market numbers also show the secondly monthly fall in employment. Both unemployment and economic inactivity among people of working age are up in both the month and the quarter.

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

The fall in employment at national level and in two-thirds of UK regions and nations makes it more critical that our potentially more timely benefit measures are giving reliable indications. The claimant count is rising sharply towards the survey measure of unemployment, and it would be helpful for DWP and the ONS to reconcile these figures so we can see the overlaps more clearly - our figures are simply comparisons of totals.

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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 (1,007,000) has risen in the past quarter by 58,000, or 6.1%. 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 9: Vacancies – whole economy survey

Vacancies (in the Office for National Statistics survey of the whole economy) fell again this month, to 813,000. As the number of vacancies is quite volatile, and frequently revised, the Office for National Statistics uses a three-month average.

Chart 11: UK employment

Employment has fallen by 84,000 on the figure published last month, to 32,693,000.

Chart 15: Employment rate quarterly change in regions and nations – June to August 2019

This quarter, four regions showed a rise in the employment rate, led by the South West and the West Midlands. The employment rate fell in eight regions and nations, led by Wales and Scotland.