ONS COVID-19 Briefing: Earnings and Employment

Briefing date: 19 May 2020

Data published: 19 May 2020

Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information, UK: May 2020

National (Released 19 May 2020)

Experimental monthly estimates of paid employees and their pay from HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC’s) Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) data. It is joint release between HMRC and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Note: This release covers people paid through the Pay As You Earn system where their pay is reported through the Real Time Information system. As employees who are “furloughed” as part of the Job Retention Scheme program should still have their payments reported through this system, they should feature in this data and contribute toward the employment and pay statistics for the relevant periods

This is the latest briefing on the Healthy Suffolk website, but the ONS may have published further updates. You can find historical information on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website

Key Points:

  • Number of paid employees grew by 0.4%, compared with the same period of the previous year; early estimates for April 2020 indicate that the number of paid employees has fallen by 1.2% compared to previous year and fell by 1.6% compared with March 2020
  • Median monthly pay grew by 2.7%, compared with the same period of the previous year; early estimates for April 2020 indicate that median monthly pay fell by 0.9% compared to previous year
  • Growth median pay for employees in the three months to March 2020 was the highest in East of England (3.5%)
  • Pay growth for employees was highest at the 25th percentile (4.2%) and lowest at the 99th percentile (2.2%) (for three months up to March 2020)
     

Context:

 

Individuals receiving pay

  • 29.0 million people were paid employees; the number fell by 0.05% from previous month.
  • Early estimates for April 2020 indicate that there were 28.6 million paid employees, a fall of 1.2% on the same time in the previous year, a decline of 348,000 people.
  • The number of employees has generally grown over the past five years but early estimates indicate it fell in April 2020.
  • Estimates for March and April 2020 indicate that employee growth slowed more substantially recently (becoming negative in April according to early estimates) coinciding with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as related economic and policy responses.

Median monthly pay

  • Median monthly pay for employees in March 2020 was £1,844; early estimates for April indicate that median monthly pay fell to £1,789.
  • Median pay has grown over the past five years but has fallen in recent months.
  • The rate of growth in median pay has fallen recently, becoming negative in April 2020 according to early estimates.
  • Median monthly pay in three months to March 2020 in East of England was £1,909, above the national median of £1,851; compared with the same time last year, pay grew fastest in the East of England (3.5%). Over the longer-term, on average over the past five years, pay growth was highest in the East of England (at an annualised rate of 2.9%).
  • Median pay appears, like Individuals receiving pay, has been affected due to COVID-19.

Pay distribution

  • The 10th percentile of the monthly pay distribution was £624, the 90th percentile was £4,441 and the 99th percentile was £12,524; this means that 10% of paid employees earned equal to or less than £624 per month, 90% earned equal to or less than £4,441, and 99% earned equal to or less than £12,524.
  • Since 2014, employees’ pay has generally grown fastest toward the low end of the pay distribution.