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UK – Number of temporary employees down 5.2%, employment at joint-highest on record

11 June 2019

The number of temporary employees in the UK fell by 5.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis to a total of 1.48 million in the three-month period from February through April 2019 when compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Temporary workers are self-identified when surveyed by the ONS, and they include those who are on fixed-period contracts, agency temp workers, casual workers, seasonal workers and others in temporary work.

The number of temporary employees as a percentage of total employment was 5.4%, down slightly from 5.7% compared to the same period a year ago.

Compared to the previous period ended in March 2019, the number of temporary employees also saw a decrease of 2.7%.

Of the 1.48 million temporary employees during the period ended April 2019, approximately 374,600 were temporary because they could not find a permanent job; 446,100 did not want a permanent job; 130,500 had a contract with a period of training; and 534,300 cited other reasons.

ONS also published labour market figures for the three-month period ended April 2019.

The UK employment rate was estimated at 76.1%, higher than a year earlier (75.6%) and the joint-highest on record.

At the same time, the UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%; it has not been this low since October to December 1974.

ONS data also showed that UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.8%, lower than a year earlier (21.0%) and close to a record low.

Excluding bonuses, average weekly earnings for employees in the UK were estimated to have increased by 3.4%, before adjusting for inflation, and by 1.5%, after adjusting for inflation, compared with a year earlier.

Including bonuses, average weekly earnings for employees in the UK were estimated to have increased by 3.1%, before adjusting for inflation, and by 1.2%, after adjusting for inflation, compared with a year earlier.

For the period from March to May 2019, there were an estimated 837,000 vacancies in the UK, 11,000 more than a year earlier.

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