Labour market information

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United Kingdom - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


The UK population is around 66 million, with around 9 million (13%) of the population situated in London. The UK population is projected to continue growing, passing 70 million by mid-2031. Alongside a growing population, there is also a growing number of older people in the UK. In mid-2043, there are projected to be more people at older ages, with the number of people aged 85 years and over expected to nearly double, compared to 2018 levels. 

The UK employment rate is at a joint-record high (76.6%) and the number of people in employment is at a record high (33.144 million). The unemployment rate is currently 3.9%. These figures cover January-March 2020 and therefore do not accurately reflect the current challenges faced by the UK labour market in regards to Covid.   

However, the impact of Covid on the UK labour market can be seen in recent claimant count and vacancy figures. For instance, the UK claimant count is currently at 2,096,600 – up over 850,000 on the previous month. Vacancies (covering Feb-April 2020) are currently at 637,000 (down 210,000 on the year), which suggests that demand for labour is significantly lower compared to ‘normal’ times.

16.2% of all people in paid work are employed in the public sector. The National Health Service (NHS) is the single biggest employer in the UK, with 1.73 million workers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  


Text last edited on: 06/2020

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