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People claiming unemployment benefits by constituency, August 2017

Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017

This paper contains claimant count figures for parliamentary constituencies, as well as a summary of the latest labour market statistics for the UK as a whole.

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The unemployment rate was 4.3% in May-July 2017, the lowest level since 1975. The ILO measure of unemployment was 1.46 million people, 75,000 fewer than the previous quarter and 175,000 fewer than the year before.

The number of people in employment was 32.14 million in May-July 2017, 181,000 more than the previous quarter and 379,000 more than the year before. The employment rate was 75.3%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971. 

Average weekly total pay in Great Britain increased by 2.1% in the three months to July 2017 compared with the previous year. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) also grew by 2.1%. CPI inflation averaged 2.7% over this period, meaning that average earnings were decreasing after taking inflation into account.


The claimant count figures are affected by the ongoing rollout of Universal Credit. The claimant count comprises people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, or people claiming Universal Credit who are required to seek work. Under Universal Credit, a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under Jobseeker’s Allowance. This has the effect of increasing the number of unemployed claimants. The effect is most visible in areas operating Universal Credit "Full Service” (where rollout of Universal Credit is more advanced).

Therefore, changes in claimant numbers or constituency rankings may be a consequence of the Universal Credit rollout rather than changes in economic conditions. In areas operating Full Service, there has been a sharp increase in the claimant count over the past year. However in constituencies not operating Full Service, their constituency ranking (based on their claimant rate) may still be affected – as Full Service areas move up the rankings, other areas must necessarily move down the rankings.

Most jobcentre areas have not yet moved to Full Service but will do so over the course of 2017 and 2018. For more details see the Library's briefing paper on Universal Credit and the claimant count.


Commons Briefing papers CBP-8086

Authors: Andy Powell; Feargal McGuinness; Jennifer Brown

Topics: Economic situation, Employment, Unemployment

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