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ONS Job Market Data: January 2020 | UK Recruitment News

The year opens with record-breaking strength in the UK jobs market.

The first set of official government figures for 2020 have arrived. How do the numbers show the UK recruitment sector performing as it enters a new year and a new decade?

Overall employment

The latest report covers the period of 2019 from September through to November. The period shows the jobs market in a vibrant and strong condition. New records were set for overall employment, unemployment, and economic activity. But what did we specifically learn about this final quarter of 2019?

The record-high employment rate of 76.3 per cent represents a 0.6 per cent increase on the same period in 2018. Even more striking, the figure is a half a percentage (0.5%) higher than the previous quarter of 2019.


The rate of unemployment in the UK remained largely unchanged on that of the previous quarter of 2019. However, that simply means that it equalled the existing record-low levels of unemployment which had been sustained throughout much of the second half of the year.

Find older ONS reports in our archive of recruitment news industry data.

Unemployment was estimated to stand at 3.8 per cent of the working age population – a 0.2 per cent decrease on twelve months earlier.

Economic Inactivity

Economic activity calculates the number of individuals who are classed neither as in work, nor unemployed. The economically inactive are those who have not been in work during the past four weeks; are not seeking employment, or those who will be unable to begin work within the next two weeks.

UK economic inactivity for this quarter was estimated at 20.6 per cent – the lowest on record. The number of economically inactive individuals fell by 04 per cent within the space of a single quarter at the end of 2019. The current rate is also 0.4% lower than that of the previous year.


Job creation in the UK has slowed – as eBoss reported last week.

In fact, the number of vacancies has fallen steadily throughout the whole of 2019. Current vacancy numbers – approximately 805,000 – place the current jobs market in a similar position to that held in the last quarter (816,000). However, vacancy numbers have fallen 49,000 compared to the previous year.

• Want to read more? You can download the complete ONS report here (pdf).

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