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Key labour market statistics for the UK

The unemployment rate was 4.7% in November 2016-January 2017. The ILO measure of unemployment was 1.58 million people, 31,000 fewer than the previous quarter and 106,000 fewer than the year before.

The number of people in employment was 31.85 million in November 2016-January 2017, 92,000 more than the previous quarter and 315,000 more than the year before. The employment rate was 74.6%, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971. 

Average weekly total pay in Great Britain increased by 2.2% in the three months to January 2017 compared with the previous year. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) grew by 2.3%. CPI inflation averaged 1.5% over this period.

Publication of claimant count statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced on 23 February 2017 that it is removing seasonally adjusted data on the claimant count from the PDF version of its monthly UK Labour Market statistical bulletin. ONS believes that due to the impact of Universal Credit, seasonally adjusted data on the claimant count “may now be providing a misleading representation of the UK labour market”.

In addition to these seasonal considerations, a broader span of claimants are required to look for work under Universal Credit than under Jobseeker’s Allowance. This acts to increase the number of unemployed claimants. The effect is visible in areas operating Universal Credit “Full Service” (where rollout of Universal Credit is more advanced), which have seen an increase in the claimant count compared to last year. Most jobcentre areas have not yet moved to “Full Service” but will do so over the course of 2017 and 2018. The Library’s briefing paper on Universal Credit and the claimant count gives more information.

ONS continues to publish non-seasonally adjusted data for parliamentary constituencies, local authorities and other geographies on the Nomis website.

The Library continues to publish non-seasonally adjusted constituency data in this briefing paper and on our Constituency Profiles intranet site.

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