ONS Labour Market Statistics (March 2021)

Date Posted: Wednesday 24th March 2021

We analyse the latest ONS data on the changes to the labour market for the latest three months to February 2021 from a gender perspective.

Read our short note on what we found for the Labour Market data for March 2021.

Key figures: 

  • The ONS has released new data on employment by nationality, which reveals a fall in migrant employment much lower than anticipated by migration experts: employment of non-UK nationals fell by 4%, as opposed to initial LFS data suggesting the fall had been 15% – driven mostly by a fall in EU nationals.
  • Unemployment, employment and economic inactivity rates have all seen small improvements in the last quarter to February 2021. Unemployment rates continued to increase but at a slower rate than in recent periods.
  • However, the unemployment picture is still bleak compared to the pre-pandemic period. According to real-time PAYE data published by HMRC, 693,000 fewer people were in payrolled employment in February 2021, when compared with February 2020.
  • Unemployment is being driven mostly by young people: under 25s contributed over 60% of the fall seen since February 2020.
  • Public administration saw an increase of 43,000 employees and health and social care an increase of 132,000 employees, sectors with a majority of female workers. The expansion of the health and social care workforces might explain women’s employment rate and economic inactivity rates holding steadier than men’s compared to the pre-pandemic period.