UK employment rate at all-time high of 76.3%

According to the latest ‘Labour market overview figures’ from the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS), the UK's employment rate is at a new all-time high.

Labour Market Overview UK January 2020

What is the employment rate in the UK?

The employment rate in the UK is at an a new high, according to figures released by ONS, with much of the increase being put down to 126,000 more women in full-time work in the three months to November 2019 compared with the previous quarter.

The ‘Labour market overview’ from ONS estimates employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK. The figures for September to November 2019 estimate that:

  • the UK employment rate was at a record high of 76.3%, 0.6 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.5 percentage points up on the previous quarter
  • the UK unemployment rate was at 3.8%, 0.2 percentage points lower than a year earlier but largely unchanged from the previous quarter
  • the UK employment rate for women was a record high of 72.3%, 1.1 percentage points higher than a year previous and a joint record high of 0.7 percentage points up on the previous quarter
  • a record 32.9 million people were employment in the UK, a rise of 0.5% from the previous quarter
  • an estimated 1.31 million people were unemployed, largely unchanged from the previous quarter
  • there were 805,000 vacancies in the UK for October to December 2019, 11,000 fewer than the previous quarter and 49,000 fewer than a year earlier.

What is an employment rate?

The employment rate is the proportion of people aged between 16 and 64 years who are in paid work. Estimated employment rates have generally been increasing in the UK since early 2012 but have levelled off in recent periods, according to ONS.

However, for September to November 2019, the employment rate rose by 0.5 percentage points on the previous quarter and was a record high 76.3 percentage points.

While the estimated employment rate for men was generally the same as the previous quarter, the rate for women was a record high. According to ONS, the 0.7 percentage point increase for women from the previous quarter is partly down to changes to the State Pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65 years.

See also

Executive pay ratio reporting: what do you need to know?

Half of UK employees considering a new job in 2020

TUPE: an overview of what businesses need to know

Find out more

Labour market overview, UK: January 2020 (ONS)

The new State Pension (

The basic State Pension (

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 22 January 2020