The Claimant Count

The Claimant Count is the most reliable data that we use in MtW.  While figures are published monthly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) it is still only an estimate, but one which is directly sourced from the DWP / Jobcentre Plus admin system.  It covers the whole of the UK.

The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits, usually Job Seekers Allowance, Universal Credit (UC) and National Insurance Credits. 

The Claimant Count is NOT just about unemployment, but there is a large overlap.  It does not meet the internationally agreed definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), but does include people on UC who are in work but with very low earnings.  Additionally, the Claimant Count can include some people who are NEET and economically inactive.

Trends in the Claimant Count since March 2020.

The table below shows the trend in Claimant Count since March 2020 for those aged 16 to 29 in the UK. The latest published figures are for June 2021.

Since last month there has been an average 0.5% drop in the proportion of Claimants in all regions for those aged 16 to 29.  Northern Ireland saw the lowest drop at 0.3%, with London and the North West seeing slightly bigger drops than average at 0.7% and 0.6% respectively.

Other figures of relevance to the employment market this month are:-

  • The number of payroll employees showed another monthly increase, up 356,000 in June 2021 to 28.9 million. However, it remains 206,000 below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, some regions are now above pre-pandemic (February 2020) levels. These include the North East, North West, East Midlands and Northern Ireland.
  • In the latest period (March to May 2021), there was an increase in the employment rate of 0.1 percentage points, to 74.8%, and a decrease in the unemployment rate of 0.2 percentage points, to 4.8% or 1.64m.
  • The economic inactivity rate is now 21.3%.
  • There were 862,000 job vacancies in April to June 2021 – 77,500 above its pre-pandemic level in January to March 2020.
  • Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.3% and regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 6.6% among employees for March to May 2021. However, annual growth in average employee pay is being affected by temporary factors that have inflated the increase in the headline growth rate, for example, the fall in the number of lower paid people in employment.