Previous Month

September 2019

The labour market figures published on 10 September point to a labour market that is slowing and has stabilised with low unemployment and high rates of employment. However, with ongoing Brexit uncertainty this may be the calm before the storm.

View analysis for September 2019.

  • Unemployment is 1,294,000, down by 35,000 from last month’s published figure (the quarterly headline has fallen by 11,000) and the unemployment rate is 3.8%, down by 0.1 percentage points on last month and no change on last quarter.
  • The ONS figure for claimant unemployed is 1,183,400, up by 28,200 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 986,000, which has risen by 41,000 on the quarter, representing 14.3% of the youth population (up by 0.6 percentage points).
  • Youth unemployment (including students) is 488,000, and is up by 7,000 on the quarter.
  • There are 1.6 unemployed people per vacancy.
  • The employment rate is 76.1% and showed no change on last month’s published figure and also no change in the preferred quarterly measure.

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

Last month’s large rise in employment was a surprise. This month’s numbers, a modest rise in employment of 31,000 in the quarter to May to July 2019, was a return to the sort of increases we had seen prior to August. Hence, last month’s number appears a blip. While unemployment fell in the quarter, the number of people who are economically inactive and outside the labour market increased.

The level of vacancies fell again, the seventh month in a row of declines. The level of redundancies is also up - hovering around the 100,000 mark in recent month’s numbers compared to around 85,000 in late 2018. The claimant count, numbers of people claiming unemployment related benefits, increased again by 28,000 this month and by 271,000 in the last year. Wage growth may also be starting to stabilise. The three months to July 2019, saw wages (excluding bonuses) grow by 3.8%, while, after accounting for inflation, real wages grew by 1.8%. Both of these numbers are down very slightly by 0.1 percentage points.

Read full comment.

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

The rollout of Universal Credit continues to affect the benefit figures. This time last year, 40% of the people on the claimant count were on Universal Credit. Now, 83% of the higher number on the count are Universal Credit Claimants. The claimant count has increased by 445,000 since December 2015, when 14% were on Universal Credit and 630,000 on Jobseeker's Allowance.

Read full comment.

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 (986,000) has risen in the past quarter by 41,000, or 4.3%. 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 sharply this month, to 812,000. As the number of vacancies is quite volatile, and frequently revised, the Office for National Statistics uses a three-month average.

Chart 12: Employment rate in the UK

The employment rate was stable over the quarter, at 76.1%.

Chart 1: UK unemployment (ILO)

The latest unemployment figure is 1,294,000. It has reduced by 35,000 from the figure published last month. The unemployment rate was down by 0.1 percentage points to 3.8% on last month.