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UK Labour Market Growth in November 2023

UK Labour Market Insights

In the backdrop of evolving economic landscapes, the UK Labour Market in November 2023 reflects a tapestry of fluctuations. Thus, impacting employment, vacancies, and workforce dynamics. This period saw significant alterations in job openings, pay trends, and industry-specific employment figures, painting a dynamic picture of the nation’s workforce scenario.

From the decrease in available job positions and changes in payment systems to the intricacies of workplace disagreements and expansions. Whereas the details of this timeframe highlight the diverse aspects of the UK’s job scene. This detailed examination delves into the fluctuations, giving us a better understanding of how the labor market is evolving. And ffering a glimpse into its recovery path after the pandemic.

The UK’s employment scenario underwent fluctuations from August to October 2023, with various sectors witnessing changes. During this period, vacancies dropped by 58,000, marking the 16th consecutive quarter decline. With 16 of 18 industries experiencing decreased vacancies.

Vacancies and Pay Trends

Annual growth in regular pay in Great Britain slightly dipped to 7.7% in July to September 2023, maintaining one of the highest rates recorded since 2001. However, annual growth in employees’ total pay stood at 7.9%, affected by one-off payments in the Civil Service. Adjusted for inflation, total pay rose by 1.4%, and regular pay by 1.3%.

In August to October 2023, the UK witnessed a significant decline in job openings, with vacancies falling by 58,000, marking the 16th consecutive quarter of reduction. This drop affected 16 out of 18 industry sectors, signaling a widespread impact across the job market.

Public vs. Private Sector Pay Growth

The public sector exhibited a substantial annual average regular pay growth of 7.3%. Thus, marking the highest growth rate recorded since 2001. Meanwhile, the private sector showed a slightly higher growth rate at 7.8%, among the largest seen outside the pandemic phase.

UK Labour Market Sectoral Insights

The finance and business services sector led with the highest annual regular growth rate at 9.4%, followed closely by the manufacturing sector at 7.7%.

Labour Disputes and Employee Growth

Labour disputes led to 229,000 working days lost in September 2023, primarily in health, social work, and education. Contrary to previous reports, payrolled employee growth in September saw an upward revision. Showing an increase of 32,000 instead of the previously reported decrease of 11,000.

Although there was a slight dip in the growth of regular pay to 7.7% from July to September 2023. The overall yearly increase in the average total pay of employees stayed steady at 7.9%. However, the total growth rate was influenced by one-off payments in the Civil Service during July and August 2023. Adjusted for inflation, total pay rose by 1.4%, and regular pay increased by 1.3%.

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UK Labour Market Average Weekly Earnings

Average weekly earnings in Great Britain were estimated at £673 for total pay and £621 for regular pay in September 2023. This data indicates a consistent upward trend in earnings. With a temporary dip observed during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long-Term Growth

The analysis of annual growth rates for both total pay and regular pay (excluding bonuses) reaffirms a robust trend, maintaining strength despite a slight decline.

Short-Term Analysis vs. Long-Term Trends

The immediate growth rate stays strong, whereas the comparison over a full 12-month period reveals an even more robust growth percentage of 7.7% for regular earnings. This contrast emphasizes the importance of considering earnings trends across different time frames.

Real Pay Adjustments

In real terms, adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Prices Index, total real pay rose by 1.4% on the year in July to September 2023, while regular real pay rose by 1.3%.

There is a notable trend in real pay growth compared to previous periods, offering insights into adjusted earnings amidst inflationary pressures.

UK Labour Market Current Employment Estimates

The estimate of paid employees for October 2023 surged by 33,000, reaching 30.2 million. However, this estimate is provisional and might undergo revision with upcoming data.

Given the uncertainty around Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates, revealed a slight decrease in the UK employment rate to 75.7%, while the unemployment rate remained at 4.2%, and economic inactivity lingered at 20.9%.


The UK’s labor market, as observed in November 2023, reflects a landscape of shifting dynamics. Vacancies persist in experiencing a downward trend, marking consistent declines across numerous industry sectors. Despite this, pay trends showcase resilience, with moderate fluctuations in growth rates.

Labor disputes, while impacting working days, haven’t deterred the overall trajectory of payrolled employee growth, indicating adaptability in certain sectors. The alternative estimates introduced amid uncertainty provide a broader view of the employment landscape, highlighting nuanced changes in employment rates, unemployment figures, and economic inactivity.

The fluctuating vacancies, especially the significant drop from April to June 2021, bear testament to the evolving demands and workforce needs across sectors. While some industries showcase promising recoveries, others continue to grapple with reduced job openings, underscoring the varied pace of post-pandemic revival.

Despite challenges, the market maintains an upward trajectory concerning overall workforce jobs, particularly in employee job numbers. However, self-employment remains a segment that continues to lag behind, indicative of the complexities in the market’s recovery.

As the UK navigates these intricate dynamics, the observations in November 2023 underline the resilience and adaptability of its labor market amidst an evolving economic landscape.


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