Six things we were not expecting to learn from today's ONS labour market figures

Hayley Kirton
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From a rise in redundancy to a boost in the proportion of women working (Source: Getty)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed its latest Labour Market Statistics, showing that employment is on the up, with 31.21m people in work for July to September.

So far, so good. But we’ve dug a little deeper into the statistics to discover six things we weren’t expecting to learn from this morning’s announcement:

The employment rate in London is behind the UK as a whole

While the employment rate for the UK as a whole now sits at 73.7 per cent, poor London is comparatively lagging behind at 72.4 per cent.

There is a greater proportion of women in the workplace than ever before

Women aged 16 to 64 now have an employment rate of 69 per cent, which is the highest level since the ONS started keeping comparable records in 1971. The ONS believes this is partly thanks to rises in the pension age for women. With an employment rate of 78.5 per cent, there’s still a lower proportion of men working than there were pre-financial crisis, when the rate peaked at 79.1 per cent during late 2007 and early 2008.

More non-UK nationals have found work over the past year than UK nationals

While the number of UK nationals working in the UK has increased by 122,000 over the last year to 28.09m, the number of non-UK nationals in work in the UK has comparatively skyrocketed, going up by 326,000 to 3.22m. Non-UK nationals now account for 10.3 per cent of all people working in the UK.

We’ve been working fewer hours than we did a year ago

It may not feel like it when we’re still more than 48 hours from the weekend, but we’re actually in the office for a smidgen less than we were a year ago. On average, people worked 31.9 hours a week for July to September 2015, 0.2 hours fewer than the same time a year ago.

More people were made redundant compared to last year…

Between July and September, 111,000 people were made redundant, up 20,000 from 91,000 for the same period last year. On the plus side, even with the increase, this period is still much lower than the peak of 311,000 for February to April 2009.

….But there’s also more job vacancies

Between August and October 2015, there were 736,000 job vacancies, which is 37,000 more than a year ago, although it’s still a little way off the peak between January and March 2015 of 744,000.


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