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 unemployment rate of 4.0% in June-August 2018 was the joint lowest rate since 1975. Despite falling slightly from the last quarter, the employment rate remains at a very high level historically while the inactivity rate remains at a very low level. The growth in average weekly pay excluding bonuses (not adjusting for inflation) was the highest since January 2009. Despite this, after adjusting for inflation, earnings remain below levels seen before the 2008 downturn.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.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-8417
Authors: Feargal McGuinness; Andy Powell; Olivia Phelan; Matthew Ward