The tables have turned on employment figures

18 February 2016 | Joseph O'Leary

Anyone should be able to easily access, understand and use the most basic of factual information about the UK.

For years this wasn't the case with one of our most influential set of numbers: how many people are in and out of work in the UK.

Yesterday the Office for National Statistics (ONS) completed a small step to improve its data tables on employment, and in doing so took a giant leap towards making its information more readily usable.

ONS main labour market spreadsheets, before and after

Gone are headaches such as hidden data, redundant lines and columns, as well as a lack of clear contact details and caveats to the figures. This will save time for people like journalists and researchers who frequently use the figures.

It follows a process of improvement which has involved consultations with Full Fact and others.

Secondees working at Full Fact from the Government Statistical Service have also produced good practice guidance for government spreadsheets. This has been adopted by the Good Practice Team.

The changes this week won't make national headlines, and there’s more to be done on the other labour market statistics outputs, such as earnings figures. But this will make life easier for anyone who wants to learn more about what's happening to employment in the UK.

Thanks, ONS.

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