ONS reveals 7.1% drop in unemployment rate

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  • Author: Richard Clegg and Statistics Views
  • Date: 22 January 2014
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of iStock Photo

The Office for National Statistics has today revealed that the unemployment rate for September to November 2013 was 7.1% of the economically active population, down 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013. In total, there were 2.32 million unemployed people recorded from June to August 2013,which is a drop of 167,000. Such a drop has not been seen in 17 years.

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for September to November 2013 was 72.1%, which is up 0.5% from June to August 2013. There were 30.15 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 280,000 from June to August 2013. The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for September to November 2013 was 22.2%, down 0.1% from June to August 2013. There were 8.93 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 22,000 from June to August 2013. Between October to December 2012 and October to December 2013 total pay and regular pay rose by 0.9%.

thumbnail image: ONS reveals 7.1% drop in unemployment rate

For September to November 2013, compared with June to August 2013:

  • The number of people in employment increased by 280,000 to reach 30.15 million.
  • The number of unemployed people fell by 167,000 to reach 2.32 million.
  • The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 fell by 22,000 to reach 8.93 million.

Comparing September to November 2013 with a year earlier:

  • There were 450,000 more people in employment.
  • There were 172,000 fewer unemployed people.
  • There were 75,000 fewer economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64.

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks. A short video explaining the basic labour market concepts of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity is available.

The unemployment rate was 7.1% for September to November 2013, down 0.5 percentage points from June to August 2013 and down 0.6 percentage points from a year earlier. Unemployment rates are calculated, in accordance with international guidelines, as the number of unemployed people divided by the economically active population (those in employment plus those who are unemployed). The chart below shows the unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over for the last five years.

Chart 1. Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted. (Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics)

The ONS publishes estimates of employment by both nationality and country of birth. The estimates relate to the number of people in employment rather than the number of jobs. Changes in the series therefore show net changes in the number of people in employment, not the proportion of new jobs that are taken by non-UK workers.

Looking at the estimates by nationality, between July to September 2012 and July to September 2013:

  • the number of people in employment in the UK increased by 376,000 to reach 30.07 million,
  • the number of UK nationals in employment in the UK increased by 348,000 to reach 27.42 million, and
  • the number of non-UK nationals in employment in the UK increased by 26,000 to reach 2.64 million.

The number of people in employment who were foreign born is higher than those who were foreign nationals as some people born abroad are UK nationals. For July to September 2013, 4.38 million people in employment were born abroad, 1.74 million higher than the number of non-UK nationals in employment. Looking at the estimates by country of birth, between July to September 2012 and July to September 2013:

  • the number of people in employment in the UK increased by 376,000 to reach 30.07 million,
  • the number of UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 256,000 to reach 25.68 million, and
  • the number of non-UK born people in employment in the UK increased by 112,000 to reach 4.38 million.

It should be noted that these UK and non-UK estimates do not sum exactly to the total number of people in employment because some people do not state their country of birth in their Labour Force Survey interviews. For the full report, please visit here.

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