Annual Business Inquiry (ABI)

Main uses

ABI is a survey of jobs in Great Britain.  It is not, however, ONS's recommended source for data on jobs as the estimates in their Labour Market Statistics (which combines data from a variety of sources including the Labour Force Survey as well as ABI) is considered to be more accurate.  But Labour Market Statistics only provide a limited number of job analyses and, for anything at a more detailed level, ABI is the recommended source.

Note that ABI covers Great Britain only.  For jobs data for Northern Ireland, see the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment website.



In summary:

The actual ABI dataset is not publicly available.  Rather, what is available is the ability to make requests for the number of jobs by selected combinations of geographic area, industry, gender and full-/part-time.  This is achieved using the 'wizard query' facility on the main NOMIS page.

Note that:


General issues

Which tables to use

The first step in the NOMIS query facility is to select the dataset of interest.  There are two ABI datasets, namely:

These two datasets are identical except that:

The second step is to select the breakdowns wanted, where the options are:

The defined tables will then be made available in a single Excel spreadsheet for downloading onto your PC.

Analyses over time

The first ABI survey was in 1998 and the data refers to the jobs available within each area rather than the jobs performed by the people who live there.  In principle, a longer time series could be obtained by stitching together the ABI and its predecessor, the Annual Employment Survey.  In practice, however, this is not possible because the two surveys use different methods of calculation which give rather different answers at geographic levels below that of Great Britain.  Such discrepancies are discussed in the ONS report of their ABI/AES reconciliation project, which recognised the extent of this problem.


Relevant graphs on this website

This dataset is not currently used for any of the website graphs.  If it were then they would use the employee analysis dataset, the 'broad industrial groups' and been supplement  by relevant data for Northern Ireland (ABI is Great Britain only).