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People claiming unemployment benefits by constituency, November 2018

Published Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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.

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Key figures

  • The UK unemployment rate was 4.1% in August-October 2018. The ILO measure of unemployment was 1.38 million people, 20,000 more than the previous quarter but 49,000 fewer than the year before.
  • The number of people in employment was 32.48 million, 79,000 more than the previous quarter and 396,000 more than the year before. The employment rate was 75.7%, the joint highest rate since comparable records began in 1971.
  • 8.66 million people aged 16-64 were economically inactive, 95,000 fewer than the previous quarter and 195,000 fewer than the year before. The inactivity rate was 21.0%.
  • Average weekly pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 3.3% excluding bonuses in the three months to October 2018 compared with the previous year. Average weekly pay including bonuses also increased by 3.3%.
  • CPI inflation averaged 2.5% over this period, meaning that average earnings both including and excluding bonuses grew faster than prices.

The full briefing paper will be published around 1pm today.

Effect of Universal Credit

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.

In response, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is intending to publish an ‘alternative’ claimant count series when the next set of labour market statistics is published on 22 January 2019. The alternative series will model what the count would have been if Universal Credit had been in place since 2013 – so it will also include those people who may not have been claiming at the time, but who would have been required to look for work had Universal Credit been in place.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8462

Authors: Andy Powell; Olivia Phelan; Matthew Ward

Topics: Economic situation, Employment, Unemployment

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