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Persons not in the Labour Force

LFS estimates were updated on 22nd Feb 2024 to incorporate updated population estimates for the period 2016 Q3 to 2023 Q3, based on the results of Census 2022. LFS results are updated in this way following each Census of Population. For further information see Background Notes.
The data in this publication does not reflect these updates. Please refer to the relevant tables on LFS Px-stat for updated LFS estimates.

Persons not in the Labour Force

In Q4 2022 there were 47,800 persons available for work but not seeking work, this is down from 90,000 a year earlier and 88,400 pre-pandemic in Q4 2019

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The number of persons not in the labour force was 1,473,300 which was up 4.4% or 61,600 from a year earlier. See Table 7.1.

Persons aged 15 years or over are classified as not being in the Labour Force (Inactive) if they do not satisfy the ILO criteria for being classified as Employed or Unemployed – see Background Notes.

The Potential Additional Labour Force (PALF) is the sum of the two groups ‘Seeking work but not immediately available’ and ‘Available for work but not seeking work’. Persons in the PALF are not part of the standard labour force, which encompasses only Employed and Unemployed people, but they have a stronger attachment to the labour market than other persons not in the labour force.

The Potential Additional Labour Force for Q4 2022 was 59,900, which was made up of 47,800 persons Available but not seeking work and 12,100 persons Seeking but not immediately available for work. The total PALF 59,900 is down from 103,500 in Q4 2021 and 99,300 in Q4 2019. See Table 7.1.

Q4 2019Q4 2020Q4 2021Q4 2022
Available for work but not seeking work88.4162.89047.8
Seeking work but not immediately available9.910.313.512.1

Of those who stated that they wanted to work but were not seeking work or available for work in Q4 2022, 21.0% said this was due to education or training. This compares to 19.6% a year earlier and 28.5% in Q4 2019.  Persons with own illness or disability accounted for 40.2% of the total in Q4 2022, down slightly from 40.3% in Q4 2021 and up from 34.4% in Q4 2019.

Q4 2019Q4 2020Q4 2021Q4 2022
Other reasons7.713.814.410.7
Care responsibilities/personal family reasons29.422.225.628.1
Own illness or disability34.435.840.340.2
Education or training28.528.119.621

Additional data on Potential Labour Supply with explanatory notes are available in QLF30.

Table 7.1 Detailed breakdown of classification of persons aged 15 years or more not in the Labour Force, Q4 2019 to Q4 2022