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For further analysis of the emerging effect of coronavirus on the labour market, see Library briefing Coronavirus: Impact on the labour market.

In the latest quarter the labour market continued to show signs of recovery. The employment rate increased, and unemployment rate decreased on the quarter. Average pay continued to grow at a faster rate than inflation. Redundancies continued to decrease while vacancies and hours worked continued to increase.

Key figures

  • In March-May 2021, the number of people aged 16+ in employment was 32.18 million, 25,000 more than the previous quarter but 526,000 fewer than the previous year. The employment rate was 74.8%, up slightly from 74.7% in the previous quarter.
  • The UK unemployment rate was 4.8%, down from 5.0% in the previous quarter. Unemployment levels fell by 68,000 on the quarter to 1.64 million.
  • 8.81 million people aged 16-64 were economically inactive, up 38,000 from the previous quarter. The inactivity rate was 21.3%, up slightly from the previous quarter.
  • Redundancies fell by 105,000 on the quarter fell by 11,000 from previous year, at 104,000.
  • Vacancies increased by 241,000 on the quarter and increased 522,000 on the year, to reach 862,000 in April-June 2021.
  • Average wages increased in real terms in the three months to May 2021, with an annual change of 5.8% including bonuses and 5.1% excluding bonuses.

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