Labour Market Statistics : February 2021

The ONS have released the latest Labour Market Overview covering the months October 2020 – December 2020, there is additional data that covers January.

The Headlines

In work

  • The employment rate is 75.%; this is down compared with the previous quarter and on the same period the previous year.
  • 32.39 million people are currently in employment, 541,000 fewer than a year earlier. This was the largest annual decrease since May to July 2009

Out of work

  • The unemployment rate is 5.1%; this is higher than the previous quarter and than in the same period a year earlier
  • 1.74 million people are unemployed, up 454,000 on the year and up 121,000 on the quarter. The annual increase was the largest since September to November 2009, with unemployment at its highest level since July to September 2015.
  • The redundancy rate has increased by 8.4 per thousand on the year to 12.3 per thousand

Looking for work?

  • The claimant count stands at 2.6 million; a monthly decrease of 0.8% but an increase of 109.4%, or 1.4 million, since March 2020.
  • 8.66 million people aged 16-64 are economically inactive (not in the labour force); 187,000 more than a year earlier and 2,000 more than the previous quarter.
  • The economic inactivity rate is 20.9%; this is up by 0.4 ppts on the same period the previous year but largely unchanged on the quarter.
  • In November 2020 to January 2021, there were an estimated 599,000 vacancies, which is a quarterly increase of 64,000 vacancies. The number of job vacancies in November 2020 to January 2021 was 26% lower than a year ago.

What does this mean for youth employment?

This data set explores what this looks like for young people.

In work:

  • The employment rate for young young people is 51.2%, lower than the last quarter and compared to the same period last year.
  • 508,114 16- 24 year olds are currently in employment down 10,147 on the quarter, down 281,888 on the year.

Out of work:

  • The unemployment rate is 14.4%, down 0.2 ppts on the previous quarter but up 3.1 ppts on the previous year.
  • 589,209 16 – 24 year olds are currently unemployed; up 12,393 on the previous quarter and up 108,672 on the year.
  • New analysis by age band shows that the 18 to 24 years age group has seen the greatest decrease in payrolled employees since February 2020.

Looking for work?

  • The number of 18-24 year olds included in the claimant count (claiming unemployment related benefits) is 514,534. This is an increase of 2,705 (0.5%) on the previous month and 280,824 (120.2%) on the year.
  • The number of 16-24 year olds economically inactive stands at 2,751,357; up 13,416 on the previous quarter, up 133,019 on the year.
  • This is an economic inactivity rate of 40.2%, up 0.3 ppts on previous quarter but up 2.2 ppts on previous year.

Our commentary

Three fifths of the fall in employment since the beginning of the pandemic has been for those under 25. In addition to those falling out of employment we see young people struggling to access new opportunities, starting dates for Kickstart are being delayed and the sectors young people are most likely to work in (hospitality and retail) will not be fully open until the summer.

The unemployment impacts of Covid are being felt more acutely by those with protected characteristics and we know that it is harder for these groups to access employment too.

Lockdown in its various forms is nearing a year, for young people out of work this is a devastating milestone, we know the scarring impacts long-term unemployment has on young people and we must do better. The Prime Ministers roadmap brings a glimmer of hope but we must see a real #OpportunityGuarantee for our young people and an emphasis in next weeks budget for young people.

For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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