ONS Labour market overview, UK: September 2023

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.5% in May to July 2023, 0.5 percentage points lower than February to April 2023. The quarterly decrease in employment was mainly driven by full-time self-employed workers.

The estimate of payrolled employees for August 2023 is largely unchanged on the month, down 1,000 on the revised July 2023 figure, to 30.1 million. The August 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 May to July 2023 increased by 0.5 percentage points on the quarter to 4.3%. The increase in unemployment was largely driven by people unemployed for up to 12 months.

The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter, to 21.1% in May to July 2023. The increase in economic inactivity during the latest quarter was driven by people aged 16 to 24 years. Those inactive because of long-term sickness increased to another record high. Meanwhile, those inactive because they were looking after family or home decreased to a record low.

In June to August 2023, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 64,000 on the quarter to 989,000. Vacancies fell on the quarter for the 14th consecutive period.

Annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 7.8% in May to July 2023, the same as the previous 3-month period and is the highest regular annual growth rate since comparable records began in 2001. Annual growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) was 8.5%; this total annual growth rate is affected by the NHS and Civil Service one-off payments made in June and July 2023. In real terms (adjusted for inflation using Consumer Prices Index including owner occupier's housing costs (CPIH)), annual growth for total pay rose on the year by 1.2% and for regular pay rose on the year by 0.6%.

There were 281,000 working days lost because of labour disputes in July 2023. The majority of the strikes were in the Education and Health and social work sectors.

Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2023

  • The number of vacancies in June to August 2023 was 989,000, a decrease of 64,000 from March to May 2023.
  • Vacancy numbers fell on the quarter for the 14th consecutive period in June to August 2023, down by 6.0% from March to May 2023 with vacancies falling in 13 of the 18 industry sectors.
  • In June to August 2023, total vacancies were down by 268,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 188,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) January to March 2020 levels.
  • In June 2023, workforce jobs fell by 153,000 on the quarter to 36.7 million, with self-employment jobs showing a record quarterly fall.


Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 12 September 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2023