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 December 2021.

Since last month there has been a drop of about 32,295 in the Claimant Count for those aged 16 to 29 which is a slightly bigger improvement than from October to November. 

As a percentage of young people in each region on the Claimant Count there has been an overall 0.3% drop across the whole of the UK with London improving 0.4% since last month, but this region still remains 81.3% above its pre-pandemic figure.  In contrast, the North East is the first region to drop below its pre-pandemic Claimant Count figure and is now -1.57% less than it was in March 2020.  Scotland is also recovering well and is only 7.86% above its pre-pandemic figure.

Other figures of relevance to the employment market are as follows:-

  • The number of payroll employees showed another monthly increase and is up 184,000 in December 2021 and now totals 29.5m people, up 0.1m since last month.  There are now 409,000 more employees on payroll in the UK than there were prior to the pandemic.  The employment rate still stands at 75.5% while the unemployment rate is now 4.1%, down 0.1%.
  • While part-time work decreased as a result of the pandemic, it has been picking up steadily and this has been driving an increase in employment seen over the last 3 months.
  • The economic inactivity rate has increased marginally to 21.3%.
  • The number of job vacancies in October to December 2021 rose to a new record of 1,247,000, an increase of 462,000 from its pre-coronavirus January to March 2020 level, with most industries displaying record numbers of vacancies, however, it is felt that the growth in the number of vacancies is starting to slow down.
  • Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 4.2% and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 3.8% among employees in September to November 2021.