Posts by Jonathan Athow

Measuring the labour market during the pandemic

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A challenge faced by ONS during the pandemic is the inability to conduct face-to-face household interviews, having to rely on telephone surveys instead. So we’ve been exploring how this might have affected responses to our Labour Force Survey on which the key UK employment data are based.  Jonathan Athow explains what we have found and how we plan to tackle it.

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A COVID-19 conundrum: why are nearly half a million ‘employees’ not being paid?

The ONS uses various data sources to measure changes in the UK labour market. One of those, the ‘Real Time Information’ from the HMRC PAYE system, shows a sharp drop in the number of employees, but the Labour Force Survey does not. Here Jonathan Athow looks at a possible explanation for this seeming contradiction.

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Understanding the impact on jobs and pay – how the ONS is now measuring the Labour market

Tomorrow the ONS will release its latest set of labour market data showing how, and to what extent, the coronavirus pandemic has hit employment and wages.  In this post Jonathan Athow compares the strengths and weaknesses of the main data sources we use to produce the figures, including the advantages of new ‘real time’ PAYE data – and the limitations of the claimant count figures.

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‘No part of the economy remains untouched’: update on how the ONS is measuring the impact of COVID-19

Soon after the pandemic began, Jonathan Athow wrote here about challenges the ONS would face in measuring its effect on the UK economy. Since then the first official data has revealed the scale of the immediate impact. As more data comes on stream, here he updates on the continuing work to ensure the ONS is able to paint the most accurate picture possible of these dramatic recent changes. 

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Meeting the challenge of measuring the economy through the COVID-19 Pandemic

The developing Covid-19 pandemic has led to new challenges for us, such as how to collect information with many shops closed, businesses ceasing to trade and no interviewers to knock on doors. The situation continues to evolve, and even now, the economy is operating very differently to how it did just a matter of weeks ago. Jonathan Athow explains how we are addressing some of the known – and the new – challenges, including highlighting how we will be collecting and publishing some of our key indicators in the weeks and months ahead.

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