This section covers data on wages, consumer and producer prices, population and the labour market. Wholesale prices are available monthly back to 1790 and both wage and cost of living indices are available annually back to the C13th. Population estimates are available back to the Domesday Book and estimated days and hours worked from the C13th. Employment and unemployment statistics derived from the census and administrative data become available from the C19th onwards. Much of these data are available in the Bank’s Millennium dataset but the underlying publicly available sources are also reproduced here. The datasets are supplemented by publications such as the British Labour Statistics Historical Abstract which covers the period 1886-1968 and the monthly Ministry of Labour Gazette and its descendent publications from 1919.
Wages and Prices
For detailed medieval data on English wages and prices users should consult the datasets of Professor Greg Clark of UC Davis and Professor Bob Allen of NYU Abu Dhabi. These datasets can be found on Professor Clark's website and the Global Price and Income History Group website. For additional evidence on the level of wages in the long C18th users should also consult the DPhil thesis of Judy Stephenson.
The Millennium of Macroeconomic Data v3.1 dataset contains wage and price indices from the late C17th but users should consult the following sections from the Gayer Rostow Schwartz microfiche for the period 1790-1850.
- Gayer, Rostow, Schwartz - Part III - Tables of Commodity Prices
- Gayer, Rostow, Schwartz - Part IV Section III - Commodity Price Series
The British Labour Statistics Historical Abstract 1886-1968 represents a key source of data for the labour market prior to current official statistics which generally begin in 1971. British Labour Statistics Historical Abstract 1886-1968.pdf
This abstract summarised the information from earlier labour historical abstracts which are available in the Articles and Periodicals section below.
The gap between 1968 and 1971 can be filled by the Department of Employment Gazette and Labour Statisitcs Yearbooks which can be found in the Articles and Periodicals Section. Subsequent historical supplements are shown below:
- Employment Gazette August 1984 Historical Supplement (18MB)
- Employment Gazette February 1987 Historical Supplement (26MB)
- Employment Gazette April 1989 Historical Supplement (20MB)
- Employment Gazette November 1989 Historical Supplement (33MB)
- Employment Gazette October 1994 Historical Supplement (39MB)
The guide to labour statistics from 1958 below is an extremely useful document that deals with the sources of both historical and contemporary labour market data up to that point.