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The claimant count is measured by the JobCentre Plus administrative system. It measures the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits. Since October 1996 this has been the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. It does not include people claiming other benefits.

Publications

Atlas of Deprivation: England
Department: Office for National Statistics
The Indices of Multiple Deprivation for England combine a number of areas, chosen to cover a range of economic, social and housing issues into a single deprivation score for each Lower Layer Super Output Area in England. The Atlas of Deprivation allows a map visualisation of the overall LSOA deprivation score (rank) and the score (rank) for each of the seven domains by local authority.
Benefit Cap Pre-national Implementation Statistics in the Four Local Authorities Subject to the Phased Implementation of the Benefit Cap
Department: Work and Pensions
This release will include, a point in time number of households affected by the Benefit Cap, Local Authority geographical breakdown and main benefit type, tenure type, household type and number of children breakdowns.
Estimates of Take-Up Reports (Northern Ireland)
Department: Social Development (Northern Ireland)
Information on the take-up of the main income-related benefits (Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Job-Seekers Allowance).
Jobcentre Plus Activity Regarding Claimants Who Have Been Identified as Potentially Impacted by the Benefit Cap
Department: Work and Pensions
Jobcentre Plus collates data on the engagement activity it undertakes with claimants who may be affected by the benefit cap. These capture a number of activities including: the number of claimants accepting employment support and the number of claimants moving into employment.
Labour Market Statistics
Department: Office for National Statistics
Employment, unemployment, economic inactivity, claimant count, average earnings, labour productivity, vacancies and labour disputes statistics.
Local Area Labour Market
Department: Office for National Statistics
Presents a number of different indicators to give an overall picture of the labour market of local areas. Includes statistics relating to the employment, unemployment and benefit dependency of the resident population of the area; statistics relating to jobs and vacancies at workplaces in the area; and earnings statistics.
Northern Ireland Labour Market Report
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Northern Ireland)
Labour Market Statistics for Northern Ireland (employment, unemployment, earnings).
Northern Ireland Labour Market Report
Department: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Labour Market Statistics for Northern Ireland (employment, unemployment, earnings).
Regional labour market statistics
Department: Office for National Statistics
Official statistics on employment, unemployment, inactivity, jobs and the Claimant Count for regions, local authorities and parliamentary constituencies.
The labour market across the UK in the current recession
Department: Office for National Statistics
Article on the labour market across the UK in the current recession
Women in Northern Ireland
Department: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Statistics on women in Northern Ireland, labour market, childcare provision, earnings.
Women in Northern Ireland
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Northern Ireland)
Statistics on women in Northern Ireland, labour market, childcare provision, earnings.

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Overview

The claimant count measures the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits (Jobseekerfs allowance since October 1996). The claimant count is not an alternative measure of unemployment as it does not meet the internationally agreed definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The estimates are sourced from the JobCentre Plus administrative system. The seasonally adjusted claimant count series, which goes back to 1971 for the UK, is estimated on a basis consistent with the current benefits regime, that is, it has been adjusted for discontinuities in coverage.

As well as numbers of people claiming benefits, estimates are also available for claimant count rates and proportions. Claimant count rates for the UK and at Government Office Region (GOR) level are calculated as the claimant count level divided by the sum of the claimant count plus the total number of jobs. Claimant count proportions are available at local area level. These are calculated as the number of claimants resident in an area as a percentage of the working-age population of that area.

Claimant count estimates for the UK are available seasonally adjusted by sex, age and duration of claim. This level of detail is also available not seasonally adjusted for GORs. Estimates for the total claimant count not seasonally adjusted are available at local area level.?Claimant count estimates are available from 1971.

Claimant Count levels and rates are published each month in the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin.

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Technical Data

Claimant Count

The count of claimants of unemployment related benefits, which is known as the claimant count, is based on the administrative records of people claiming these benefits. Since October 1996, this has been the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). The claimant count consists of all people claiming JSA at Jobcentre Plus local offices. They must declare that they are out of work, capable of, available for and actively seeking work during the week in which their claim is made.

People who qualify for JSA through their National Insurance contributions are eligible for a personal allowance for a maximum of six months. This is contribution-based JSA. People who do not qualify for contribution-based JSA can claim a means-tested allowance. This is income-based JSA. Those claiming JSA enter into a Jobseekerfs agreement. This sets out the action they will take to find work and to improve their prospects of finding employment.

The seasonally adjusted claimant count series, which goes back to 1971 for the UK, is estimated on a basis consistent with the current benefits regime, that is, it has been adjusted for discontinuities in coverage.

The non-seasonally adjusted series includes all claimants aged 16 and over while the seasonally adjusted series includes all claimants aged 18 and over. This difference in coverage exists because restricting the seasonally adjusted series to those aged 18 and over was the only realistic way of maintaining the consistent series back to 1971, following a rule change in 1988 which resulted in most 16 to 17-year-olds becoming ineligible to claim unemployment-related benefits.

Claimant count rates and proportions

Claimant count rates for the UK and for Government Office Regions (GORs) are calculated as the number of claimants who are resident in each area as a percentage of workforce jobs plus the claimant count. Workforce jobs are the sum of:

  • employee jobs

  • self-employment jobs

  • Her Majestyfs Armed Forces

  • Government-Supported trainees

The largest part, the employee jobs, represents jobs by the location of the employer. The estimate of workforce jobs therefore, tends to reflect the location of jobs rather than the residence of jobholders.

At local area level, comparisons are published in the form of the claimant count expressed as a proportion of the local resident population of working age. These proportions avoid distortions to rates, which would be caused by commuting patterns, if they were calculated as above for smaller areas.

Relationship between claimant count and unemployment

There is a large degree of overlap between the claimant count and unemployment although the latter figures are generally higher. People who are not claimants can appear among the unemployed if they are not entitled to unemployment related benefits. For example:

  • people who are only looking for part-time work

  • young people under 18 who are looking for work but do not take up the offer of a Youth Training place?

  • students looking for vacation work

  • people who have left their job voluntarily

Some people recorded in the claimant count would not be counted as unemployed. For example, in certain circumstances people can claim Jobseekerfs Allowance while they have relatively low earnings from part-time work. These people would not be unemployed.

Seasonal adjustment

Seasonal movements can occur in labour market data for a number of reasons including holidays and recruitment patterns. For example, a large number of people leave full-time education and enter the labour market in the summer.

To make it easier to identify the underlying movements in the labour market, changes due solely to seasonal influences are removed from many series. This process is known as seasonal adjustment. The seasonal adjustment of claimant count estimates is reviewed annually.

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Glossary

  • Claimant count

    The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits. Since October 1996 this has been the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. The seasonally adjusted claimant count series, which goes back to 1971 for the UK, is estimated on a basis consistent with the current benefits regime, that is, it has been adjusted for discontinuities in coverage.

  • Claimant Count at national or regional level

    The number of claimants resident in an area as a percentage of the sum of claimants and workforce jobs in the country or region.

  • Inflows and Outflows

    The claimant count records are analysed to provide information about inflows into the count and outflows from the count on a monthly basis. To make comparisons over time consistent, these figures are standardised to a?four and three quarter week month before seasonal adjustment. These figures for people starting to or ceasing to claim Jobseekers Allowance can be helpful towards intepreting changes in the claimant count.

  • JobCentre Plus

    Jobcentre Plus is a government agency supporting people of working age from welfare into work, and helping employers to fill their vacancies. It is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and it administers Jobseekerfs Allowance benefit and a number of other benefits.

  • Jobseeker's Allowance

    Jobseekerfs Allowance is the main benefit for people of working age who are out of work or work less than 16 hours a week on average. If you're eligible, it is paid while you're looking for work. To get Jobseeker's Allowance you must be: ??available for, capable and actively seeking work ??aged 18 or over but below State Pension age ??working less than 16 hours per week on average.Jobseeker's Allowance isn't normally paid to 16 or 17 year olds, except in special cases.

  • Rates

    Generally, the preferred measure of Labour market statistics as they allow changes in the labour market to be interpreted in a wider context by allowing for changes in the overall population.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Labour Market Statistics Team

Email: labour.market@ons.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1633 455070

Labour Market Statistics Team Office for National Statistics Government Buildings Cardiff Road Newport NP10 8XG

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