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Vacancies

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of vacancies were advertised in job centres in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available. (263735)

[holding answer 16 March 2009]: We do not have a recent estimate of the proportion of vacancies in the UK economy advertised at Jobcentre Plus. There have been some one-off surveys that have estimated the Jobcentre Plus share of all vacancies. In 2002, ONS used one such survey to estimate the proportion of total vacancies advertised at Jobcentres at 44 per cent. Allowing for sampling variation, the ratio was likely to be in the range of around a third to a half. However, this estimate is likely to have changed over time.

The following tables show the number of live unfilled Jobcentre Plus vacancies in Great Britain in each of the last 12 months, and the number of unfilled vacancies in the economy according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Vacancy Survey. Both measures are snap-shots of the number of opportunities available at a particular point in time and do not reflect the dynamism of the labour market that sees thousands of new job vacancies come up every day.

The data from Jobcentre Plus and the ONS Vacancy Survey are not directly comparable, and so should not be used together to produce such an estimate. The Vacancy Survey is a sample based survey of businesses in the UK and is seasonally adjusted, whereas the Jobcentre Plus data are administrative data that are subject to a high level of seasonality. In addition, there are coverage issues, with the Vacancy Survey covering only civilian vacancies and excluding Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, whereas the Jobcentre Plus data include non-civilian vacancies.

Number of job vacancies in Great Britain advertised by Jobcentre Plus in each of the last 12 months

Live unfilled vacancies

2008

March

397,505

April

385,082

May

377,648

June

386,810

July

353,493

August

348,451

September

373,922

October

383,331

November

343,274

December

271,011

2009

January

193,792

February

238,554

Notes: 1. Data are unrounded, and not seasonally adjusted. 2. The Jobcentre Plus data do not cover the whole UK economy. Coverage relates just to vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus and as such represent a market share of vacancies throughout the whole economy. This proportion varies over time, according to the occupation of the vacancy and industry of the employer, and by local area. Comprehensive estimates of all job vacancies (not just those notified to Jobcentre Plus) are available from the monthly ONS Vacancy Survey since April 2001, based on a sample of some 6,000 enterprises. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only. 3. The stocks of live unfilled vacancies reflect more accurately job opportunities available via Jobcentre Plus. In the case of unfilled vacancies, use of the figures on live vacancies is recommended (i.e. excluding suspended vacancies), and this is the default option. Live vacancies may still include some vacancies which have already been filled or are otherwise no longer open to recruits, due to natural lags in procedures for following up vacancies with employers. 4. Jobcentre Plus figures are published at: www.nomisweb.co.uk Source: Jobcentre Plus Labour Market System.

Office for National Statistics UK Vacancy Survey

Level of vacancies (Three-month rolling average estimates)

January to March 2008

687,000

February to April 2008

682,000

March to May 2008

670,000

April to June 2008

649,000

May to July 2008

629,000

June to August 2008

611,000

July to September 2008

599,000

August to October 2008

581,000

September to November 2008

556,000

October to December 2008

531,000

November to January 2009

506,000

December to February 2009

482,000

Notes: 1. Data are rounded to the nearest 1,000, and are seasonally adjusted three-month averages. 2. Excludes Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. 3. November, December and January data on the ONS monthly vacancies estimate have been revised and February data are provisional. 4. ONS monthly vacancies estimates published at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_labour/LatestData.xls Source: Office for National Statistics Vacancy Survey.