The number of temporary employees in the UK decreased by 2.55% year over the year to a total of 1.53 million in the three months ended November 2018, according to data released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The number of temporary employees as a percentage of total employment was 5.5%., down from 5.7% in the same period a year ago.
The ONS figures relate to all temporary workers, not just temporary agency workers.
Compared to the three months ended in October 2018, however, the number of temporary employees rose by 0.4%.
Of the 1.5 million temporary employees, approximately 409,600 were temporary because they could not find a permanent job; 444,000 did not want a permanent job; 116,700 had a contract with a period of training; and 559,200 cited other reasons.
Overall, there were an estimated 32.53 million people in work, 141,000 more than for June to August 2018 and 328,000 more than for a year earlier. The employment rate was estimated at 75.8%, higher than for a year earlier (75.3%) and the highest since comparable estimates began in 1971.
The unemployment rate was estimated at 4.0% during the period, it has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.
The average weekly earnings for employees rose 3.3% year-over-year in the three months ended in November 2018, excluding bonuses and 3.4% including bonuses. However, the increase was 1.1% when adjusted for inflation (excluding bonuses) and 1.2% (including bonuses).
Vacancies rose by year-over-year to a total of 853,000 for the period of October to December 2018.
For September to November 2018, an estimated 91,000 people had become redundant in the three months before the Labour Force Survey interviews, 19,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
ONS Head of Labour Market David Freeman commented, “The number of people working grew again, with the share of the population in work now the highest on record. Meanwhile, the share of the workforce looking for work and unable to find it remains at its lowest for over 40 years, helped by a record number of job vacancies.”
“Wage growth continues to outpace inflation, which fell back slightly in the latest month,” Freeman said.
Recruitment and Employment Confederation director of policy, Tom Hadley also commented, “Despite the ongoing political turbulence, employers are continuing to hire. Today’s data shows a joint-record number of vacancies, underlining the fact that the supply of staff remains a major challenge and a threat to business growth.”