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 Over the Last Year.
The table below shows the trend in Claimant Count over the last 12 months for those aged 16 to 29 in the UK.
The latest published figures are for February 2021 and show that there are 693,000 fewer people in payrolled employment when compared to February 2020. Of these job losses, 60% of those people impacted were under the age of 25.
The February figures show a slight decrease in the unemployment rate, down from 5.1% to 5%, but the Claimant Count figures show a different picture with the overall number rising to nearly 2.7m.
February also saw a rise in those aged 16 to 29 on the Claimant Count in every UK region except Northern Ireland. This follows a monthly decrease since August 2020.
The average percentage increase for those aged 16 to 29 on the Claimant Count since March 2020 peaked at the end of July and had risen to 121.5%. The biggest increase across all regions is in London which now sits at 205% compared to the UK average of 115%.