This paper provides figures for the number of people claiming unemployment benefits (the “claimant count”) by parliamentary constituency, as well as a summary of the latest labour market statistics for the UK as a whole. The UK employment rate climbed to a new record high of 75.6% in January-March 2018, the inactivity rate fell to a new record low of 21.0% and the unemployment rate was at its lowest level since 1975. Average weekly pay excluding bonuses grew slightly faster than prices for the first time in over a year, although there was slower growth in average pay including bonuses.Jump to full report >>
The claimant count figures provided in this paper 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. So changes in claimant numbers may be a consequence of the Universal Credit rollout rather than changes in economic conditions.
The effect is most visible in areas operating Universal Credit "Full Service”, where rollout of Universal Credit is more advanced: in these areas, there tends to have been a sharp increase in the claimant count over the past year.
Previously the data table in section 3 of this paper ranked constituencies according to their claimant rate. However, ranks for all constituencies are affected by Universal Credit rollout. There have been marked increases in rank for constituencies where rollout is more advanced, but that means other constituencies (in early stages of rollout) are pushed down the rankings. This makes the constituency ranks less informative and we have omitted them from this month’s edition.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-8307
Authors: Feargal McGuinness; Andy Powell; Jennifer Brown