Labour market statistics — particularly employment, unemployment and inactivity — are often a topic of fraught and politicised debate.

This article considers the trends in UK employment, to test various claims made about labour statistics, over the past quarter of a century. Many of these claims are found to be false or likely to be misleading.

An International Definition

Like other statistics offices in the European Union and the OECD countries, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) follows the International