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In February 2024, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reintroduced Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which also includes a population reweighting. This is after only limited experimental headline data was published between October 2023 and January 2024 due to falling response rates.

The ONS have said that the reintroduced LFS estimates should be treated with additional caution, and that the quarterly change estimates are particularly volatile. Due to time constraints, some series have only been reweighted from July to September 2022 onwards. This means there is a break in the data. The ONS has remodelled data back to June to August 2011 for the headline measures (employment, unemployment and economic inactivity).

This briefing provides the statistics that have been published by the ONS, but these statistics should be treated with more caution than usual.

In the year to March to May 2024, employment levels fell and unemployment and economically inactivity levels increased. Real wages grew at their fastest rate since summer 2021 in the three months to May 2024.

Key figures

  • In March to May 2024, the number of people aged 16+ in employment was 33.00 million, and the employment rate for people aged 16-64 was 74.4%. Employment levels have fallen by around 312,000 over the last year, and the employment rate has fallen.
  • The UK unemployment rate was 4.4%, and 1.53 million people aged 16+ were unemployed. Unemployment levels increased by around 133,000 over the last year, and the unemployment rate rose.
  • 9.38 million people aged 16-64 were economically inactive, and the inactivity rate was 22.1%. Inactivity levels increased by around 390,000 over the last year and the inactivity rate increased.
  • The number of vacancies fell in the last quarter and over the year to 889,000 in April to June 2024, but remain above pre-pandemic levels.
  • Average wages increased in real terms in the three months to May 2024, with an annual change of 3.0% including bonuses and 3.2% excluding bonuses. Nominal wages continued to rise, at a rate of 5.7% including bonuses and 5.7% excluding bonuses

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