ONS Labour market overview, UK: August 2023

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.7% in April to June 2023, 0.1 percentage points lower than January to March 2023. The quarterly decrease in employment was driven by full-time employees and self-employed workers.

The estimate of payrolled employees for July 2023 shows a monthly increase, up 97,000 on the revised June 2023 figure, to 30.2 million. The July 2023 estimate should be treated as a provisional estimate and is likely to be revised when more data are received next month.

The unemployment rate for April to June 2023 increased by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter to 4.2%. The increase in unemployment was driven by people unemployed for up to 6 months.

The economic inactivity rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter, to 20.9% in April to June 2023. The decrease in economic inactivity during the latest quarter was largely driven by those inactive because they are looking after family or home. Meanwhile, those inactive because of long-term sickness increased to a record high.

Flows estimates show that, between January to March 2023 and April to June 2023, there was a large net movement from economic inactivity into unemployment.

In May to July 2023, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 66,000 on the quarter to 1,020,000. Vacancies fell on the quarter for the 13th consecutive period.

Annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 7.8% in April to June 2023, this is the highest regular annual growth rate we have seen since comparable records began in 2001. Annual growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) was 8.2%; this total growth rate is affected by the NHS one-off bonus payments made in June 2023. In real terms (adjusted for inflation using Consumer Prices Index including owner occupier's housing costs (CPIH)), annual growth for total and regular pay rose on the year, by 0.5% for total pay, and by 0.1% for regular pay.

There were 160,000 working days lost because of labour disputes in June 2023. Over half of the days lost because of labour disputes in June 2023 were in the Health and Social Work sector.

Vacancies and jobs in the UK: August 2023

  • The number of vacancies in May to July 2023 was 1,020,000, a decrease of 66,000 from February to April 2023
  • Vacancy numbers fell on the quarter for the 13th consecutive period in May to July 2023, down by 6.0% from February to April 2023, with vacancies falling in 13 of the 18 industry categories.
  • In May to July 2023, total vacancies were down by 256,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 219,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.
  • In April to June 2023 the number of unemployed people per vacancy was 1.4, up from 1.2 the previous quarter (January to March 2023) as the number of vacancies fell while unemployment rose.


Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 15 August 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, UK Labour market: August 2023.