Making learning and work count

Labour market LIVE from Learning and Work Institute
15 September 2020

  • The ONS figure for claimant unemployed is 2,737,900, and is up by 73,700 on last month, and the claimant rate is 7.6%.
  • The ONS figure for 18-24 claimant unemployed is 526,400 in August, up by 291,300 or 124% on March.
  • Vacancies in August have now recovered by 177,000 after falling 470,000 between February and May.
  • Unemployment is 1,398,000, up by 60,000 from last month’s published figure (quarterly headline is up by 62,000) and the unemployment rate 4.1%, increased by 0.2 percentage points on last month and rose by 0.2 percentage points on last quarter.
  • The number of workless young people (not in employment, full-time education or training) is 1,023,000, down by 3,000 on the quarter, and is 14.9% of the youth population.
  • Youth unemployment (including students) is 563,000, up by 36,000 on the quarter.
  • The employment rate is 76.5% (has risen by 0.1 percentage points on last month’s published figure and rose by 0.1 percentage points in the preferred quarterly measure).

Learning and Work Institute comment

This full briefing supplements the short briefing we published earlier on Tuesday 15th September

The labour market figures published on 15 September showed that employment was, in the big picture, fairly flat, but there were large declines in payroll employees. There were 3.4 million people out of work and wanting a job. There has been some recovery over the summer, but slowly. With around 3 million workers still on furlough, the end of the scheme risks triggering a second wave of unemployment. Young people, in particular, continue to face a very challenging labour market.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, commented:

‘Behind the headlines, there are clear warning signs of trouble ahead: 695,000 fewer people are in payroll employment than at the start of the crisis, redundancies are now rising, and 3.4 million people are out of work and want a job.

We may be in the eye of the storm, with worse to come. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected jobs, and the partial reopening of the economy and Eat Out To Help Out scheme provided a boost. But with around three million workers still furloughed, the end of the furlough scheme in October could see a second wave of unemployment.

We need targeted support for jobs in hard-hit sectors, and to further ramp-up employment and training support for those out of work.’

These figures will be the focus of a Learning and Work Institute webinar on Wednesday 16th September at 1.00 pm.

Speakers include Stephen Timms MP, the Chair of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Charlotte Pickles, Director at Reform, and Learning and Work Institute's Stephen Evans.

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

"The Office for National Statistics continues to try to inform about the effects of the coronavirus and lockdowns on the labour market experiences of individuals. Each month they produce new experimental analysis. We try to reflect these in our short and longer briefings. Many of the newest analyses are covered in the initial short briefing, while this longer one covers a range of further analyses and charts."

Employment fell by 12,000 between February 2019 to April 2020 and May 2020 to July 2020. In the last 12 months employment is up by 202,000.

Unemployment rose by 62,000 between February 2019 to April 2020 and May 2020 to July 2020. and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.2 percentage points to 4.1% in the quarter.

Economic inactivity fell by 118,000 between February 2019 to April 2020 and May 2020 to July 2020. and the inactivity rate reduced by 0.3 percentage points to 20.2% in the quarter.

Youth unemployment is showing a quarterly rise. There are 563,000 unemployed young people, and 371,000 (5.4% of the youth population) who are unemployed and not in full-time education.

There are now far more young people claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker's Allowance as unemployed (526,400) than unemployed non-students in the survey data (371,000).

Self-employment is down by 154,000 this quarter. The number of employees is up by 159,000 in the quarter. Involuntary part-time employment is down by 22,000 this quarter to 0.9 million, 10.4% of all part-time workers.The proportion remains much higher than the 7.4% in 2004.

Chart 1: Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimant count

The ONS headline Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimant count has risen by 73,734 in August, taking the total to 2,737,945. ONS' claimant count before seasonal adjustment rose by 84,536 to 2,735,382. This change is directly comparable to the local level claimant count changes published today.

chart 8
Chart 2: UK unemployment (ILO) - the official estimate

The latest unemployment figure is 1,398,000. It has risen by 60,000 from the figure published last month. The preferred quarterly comparison is up by 62,000. The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 4.1% - both over the month and the quarter. chart 1
Chart 3: Youth unemployment

The number of unemployed young people has risen by 20,000 since last month’s figures, to 563,000.

Meanwhile, the number of young Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants last month by 562, to 526,352. There are now 146,000 more young claimants of Universal Credit or Jobseeker's Allowance than the number of unemployed young people who are not in education. chart 7
Chart 4: Vacancies – whole economy survey

Headline vacancies recovered very slightly this month, to 434,000. The ONS' experimental single-month vacancy figures shows a more substantial recovery from 327,000 in May, to 504,000 in August. The headline ONS vacancy figure is both seasonally adjusted and a three-month average. The chart shows both series. 

Chart 5: Experimental single month vacancies – whole economy survey

The Office for National Statistics experimental single month vacancy estimates include sectoral information. As these are not seasonally adjusted, it is better to look at annual changes. chart 13
Chart 6: Unemployment rates by age

The 18 to 24 year old unemployment rate (including students) is 12.3% of the economically active – excluding one million economically inactive students from the calculation. The rate for those aged 25 to 49 is 2.9%. For those aged 50 and over it is 2.6%. The quarterly change is up 1.6 for 18 to 24 year olds, up 0.1 for 25 to 49 year olds, and up 0.1 for the over-50s. chart 5
Chart 7: 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 (1,023,000) has fallen in the past quarter by 3,000 , or 0.3%, but remains high. chart 6
Chart 8: UK employment

Employment increased by 55,000 on the figure published last month, to 32,979,000. The preferred quarterly comparison was down by 12,000 (on February to April). chart 15
Chart 9: Employment rate in the UK

The employment rate is up by 0.1 percentage points over the quarter, to 76.5%. chart 16
Chart 10: Claimants for inactive benefits and the economically inactive – inactivity benefits

The number of people inactive owing to long-term sickness fell sharply, while the latest benefit figures (for February 2020) rose.

This chart shows claimants of Employment and Support Allowance, and Incapacity Benefit (the orange dots), compared with survey figures for the economically inactive owing to long-term sickness. Survey responses as to the reasons for inactivity may be volatile at the moment. chart 17
Chart 11: Claimants for inactive benefits and the economically inactive – lone parents

This chart shows claimants of out of work benefits as lone parents (the orange dots) and survey figures for all those who are economically inactive looking after family (including couple families). The survey figures (showing those looking after family) fell sharply while benefit measures continued to fall in the latest (February 2020) data.

chart 18
Chart 12: Employment rates in regions – May 2020 to July 2020

Compared to last year, six regions showed a rise in the employment rate, while five showed a fall. The largest rises were in the North east and London, and the largest falls were in the South West and Eastern regions. chart 19
Chart 13: Unemployment rates in regions – May 2020 to July 2020

Compared to last year, eight regions showed a rise in unemployment, while four showed a fall. The largest rises were in the South West, Scotland and Eastern England. The largest falls were in Wales and the North West. chart 20
Chart 14: Inactivity rate quarterly change in regions – May 2020 to July 2020

Compared to last year, six regions showed a rise in the inactivity rate, led by the South West and Wales, while six showed falls, led by the North East and London. chart 21

This newsletter is produced by Learning and Work Institute and keeps readers up to date on a wide range of learning and work issues.

If you have any questions, contact Paul Bivand
© 2020 Learning and Work Institute. All rights reserved.
Click here to unsubscribeClick here to see a web copy of this email.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign