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.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.
In order to adjust for this effect, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published on 16 April 2019 an update to its ‘alternative’ claimant count series (first released in January 2019). The alternative series models what the count would have been from 2013 onwards had Universal Credit been operating fully, to capture the ‘broader span’ of claimants covered by Universal Credit. So as well as counting people who were claiming unemployment benefits, it also includes 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. Figures for the alternative series are published each quarter, and will next be published in July.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-8548
Authors: Daniel Harari; Lorna Booth; Matthew Ward