Job vacancies, three month averages (seasonally adjusted), UK
After rising for more than a year, the trend in vacancies appears to be levelling off.
According to the UK seasonally adjusted series, there were an estimated 640,000 vacancies on average for the three-month period to October 2004. This was a fall of 9,900 (1.5 per cent) from the previous three months but an increase of 43,300 (7.3 per cent) on the year.
Following a decline for much of the time between spring 2001 and mid-2003, vacancies have been on an increasing trend, but appear to have begun to level off since mid-2004.
Changes in the number of vacancies vary between industries. Vacancies in the construction industry increased by 4,000 (19 per cent) in August to October 2004 compared with the previous three months, while vacancies in the transport and communications sectors fell by 3,600 (7.5 per cent). Since mid-2003 there has been a particularly strong upward trend for the finance and business services sector. There has been a similar trend for distribution, hotels and restaurants, although, as for the total series, this is showing signs of levelling off.
The ONS Vacancy Survey provides comprehensive estimates of job vacancies across the UK economy, based on information from employers. Now that the survey has been running for three and a half years (since April 2001), the data are already showing strong and stable seasonal patterns. Results are therefore now being published on a seasonally adjusted basis.