Claimant Count figures

Important notes about the data

The introduction of Universal Credit (UC) in 2013 has resulted in inconsistencies in the coverage of the Claimant Count across the UK, owing to the different speeds of the UC roll out. The Claimant Count figures have consequently been re-classified as experimental statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This status is likely to continue until the roll out of Universal Credit is completed - currently expected in 2022. Care should therefore be taken when analysing and interpreting the figures. 

As from April 2015, the Claimant Count has included all claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), plus those Universal Credit claimants who are required to seek work and be available for work. Generally, JSA claimants will reduce as Universal Credit is rolled out. The Claimant Count therefore provides a more comprehensive dataset of those persons claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed.

Under Universal Credit a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under Jobseeker's Allowance. As Universal Credit full service areas are rolled out across the UK, the number of people recorded as being on the Claimant Count is therefore likely to rise in those areas where full service has been implemented.

Claimant Count data versus official unemployment data

Please note that the Claimant Count does not measure official unemployment. Official unemployment has a wider definition and includes those economically active unemployed persons who meet the definition criteria, and who do not claim benefits, either through choice, or for reasons of non-eligibility. Official unemployment figures therefore tend to be somewhat higher than the Claimant Count.

Official unemployment data is not available below the district/unitary authority level, whereas Claimant Count data is available for small geographic areas such as wards and smaller lower-layer super output areas (LSOAs). The Claimant Count therefore provides a good proxy for unemployment at the small local level. Generally, a high Claimant Count in an area is a good indicator of high unemployment in that area.

Further details about the Claimant Count can be found in the ONS Claimant Count information paper (quality and methodology information), published on 8 December 2016. Information about the wider labour market can be found in the monthly statistical bulletins produced by the ONS on the UK labour market and the regional labour markets in the UK.

Key findings

Analysis of the September 2017 figures

In September 2017, the Claimant Count in the United Kingdom totalled 795,470 people and the proportion of working age residents aged 16 to 64 years on the Claimant Count was 1.9%. Of the total, 489,060 were men and 306,410 were women. The proportion for men (2.4%) was higher than that for women (1.5%). Males accounted for 61.5% of the Claimant Count total. The total was down by 6,880 people (0.9%) on the previous month, but up by 27,165 persons (3.5%) over the previous year.

The total number of persons on the Claimant Count in the Lancashire-14 area was 21,605 in September 2017 and the proportion was 2.4%. Of the total, 13,165 were men and 8,440 were women. The proportion for men (2.9%) was higher than that for women (1.8%). Males accounted for 60.9% of the Claimant Count total. The total was down marginally, by 5 people (0.0%), on the previous month, but up by 2,230 persons (11.5%) over the previous year.

For the Lancashire-12 area, a total of 15,305 persons were on the Claimant Count in September 2017 and the proportion was 2.1%. Of the total, 9,190 were men and 6,115 were women. The proportion for men (2.5%) was higher than that for women (1.7%). Males accounted for 60.0% of the Claimant Count total. The total was down by 20 persons (0.1%), on the previous month, but up by 1,785 persons (13.2%) over the previous year.

Blackpool had the largest Claimant Count total (3,635) within the Lancashire-14 area in September 2017, followed by Blackburn with Darwen (2,670), Lancaster (2,395), Preston (2,175) and Burnley (2,050). Ribble Valley (245) had the lowest total.

Table 1: Claimant Counts [1] and proportions (%) [2] (16-64) [3], September 2017

  Male claimants Female claimants Total Claimants
Area Number % Number % Number %
Burnley 1,170 4.4 800 3.3 2,050 3.8
Chorley 710 2.0 455 1.3 1,165 1.6
Fylde 395 1.8 240 1.1 635 1.4
Hyndburn 790 3.2 560 2.3 1,355 2.7
Lancaster 1,420 3.1 975 2.1 2,395 2.6
Pendle 695 2.5 450 1.6 1,145 2.1
Preston 1,360 2.8 815 1.8 2,175 2.3
Ribble Valley 140 0.8 105 0.6 245 0.7
Rossendale 570 2.6 365 1.6 935 2.1
South Ribble 560 1.7 405 1.2 965 1.4
West Lancashire 745 2.2 480 1.4 1,225 1.8
Wyre 630 2.0 390 1.2 1,020 1.6
Lancashire-12 9,190 2.5 6,115 1.7 15,305 2.1
Blackburn with Darwen 1,650 3.6 1,020 2.2 2,670 2.9
Blackpool 2,330 5.4 1,305 3.1 3,635 4.3
Lancashire-14 13,165 2.9 8,440 1.8 21,605 2.4
North West 68,000 3.0 43,645 1.9 111,645 2.5
England 393,520 2.3 255,340 1.5 648,865 1.9
Great Britain 469,765 2.3 295,995 1.5 765,760 1.9
United Kingdom 489,060 2.4 306,410 1.5 795,470 1.9

Notes: [1] All Claimant Count numbers are rounded to the nearest 5. Claimant Count numbers may not sum exactly to the number of people claiming JSA (published on Nomis) and the number of people claiming Universal Credit and required to seek work (published by DWP), owing to independent rounding.

[2] Proportions are calculated using the mid-2015 resident population aged 16-64.

[3] At the UK level, there may be a very small number of persons aged 65 or over contained within the Claimant Count figures. Over the last year, the number of persons aged 65 or over in the UK ranged between 30 and 50 people. In the Lancashire-14 area, the number of persons aged 65 or over has numbered only 5 for two of the months of November 2016 and December 2016.

Source: Office for National Statistics via the National On-line Manpower Information System (Nomis), Claimant Count dataset.

 

The Claimant Count proportions for the Lancashire-14 area (2.4%) and the Lancashire-12 area (2.1%) were greater than the UK proportion (1.9%) in September 2017.

Eight of the Lancashire-14 authorities had proportions that were above the UK figure (1.9%). Blackpool (4.3%), Burnley (3.8%), Blackburn with Darwen (2.9%), Hyndburn (2.7%) and Lancaster (2.6%) had the highest rates. These were above the Lancashire-14 proportion. Ribble Valley (0.7%) had the lowest proportion in the Lancashire-14 area.

Blackpool (5.4%), Burnley (4.4%) and Blackburn with Darwen (3.6%) had the largest male Claimant Count proportions in the Lancashire-14 area (2.9%) in September 2017 (UK male proportion = 2.4%).

Burnley (3.3%), Blackpool (3.1%) and Hyndburn (2.3%) had the greatest female Claimant Count proportions in the Lancashire-14 area (1.8%) in September 2017 (UK female proportion = 1.5%).

Universal Credit full service provision rollout

Please note that Lancaster became a Universal Credit full service area in July 2016. This means that persons can process claims online, rather than via the phone. The result has been an acceleration in the number of persons claiming Universal Credit in Lancaster over the last ten months (in addition to substantial upward revisions over the summer months of 2016). A further impact in Lancaster has been the accelerated reduction in claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) over the last year. Other benefits that are being replaced by Universal Credit may also be similarly affected.

Burnley became a Universal Credit full service area in May 2017 and a similar impact on Universal Credit numbers is expected to be seen in Burnley over the coming months.

The Universal Credit full service rollout schedule for each of the Lancashire-14 authorities is provided below in the Universal Credit background information PDF document (section 1.3).

 

Figure 1: Claimant Count proportions (percentages of working age residents aged 16 to 64) - September 2017

Notes: Please refer to the notes under table 1.

Source: Office for National Statistics via the National On-line Manpower Information System (Nomisweb), Claimant Count dataset

Monthly change

The UK Claimant Count total fell by 0.9% (6,880 persons) over the previous month. This was greater than the percentage drop recorded in the Lancashire-12 area of 0.1% (20 persons) and the 0.0% percentage change seen for the Lancashire-14 area, where only a marginal fall in numbers was recorded of five people.

Seven of the Lancashire-14 authorities recorded monthly increases to their Claimant Count totals, two of the authorities (Preston and Ribble Valley) recorded no monthly change, whilst five of the authorities saw reductions to their Claimant Count totals. Totals rose the most in Burnley (50 persons, 2.5%), Pendle (25 persons, 2.2%) and Rossendale (20 persons, 1.3%), whilst the decreases were the greatest in West Lancashire (55 persons, 4.3%) and Fylde (30 people, 4.5%).

Burnley (2.5%) recorded the largest monthly percentage increase in the total number of persons on the Claimant Count in the Lancashire-14 area, followed by Pendle (2.2%) and Rossendale (2.2%). All five of the percentage decreases to the Claimant Count totals in Lancashire-14 area were larger than the UK fall of 0.9%, with Fylde (4.5%) and West Lancashire (4.3%) recording the greatest reductions.

The UK total Claimant Count proportion remained unchanged at 1.9% over the previous month. Both the Lancashire-14 and Lancashire-12 total Claimant Count proportions were also unchanged over the last month.

Within the Lancashire-14 area, Burnley, Pendle and Blackpool recorded increases to their total Claimant Count proportions over the month of 0.1 percentage point each, whilst Fylde, Chorley and South Ribble each saw reductions of 0.1 percentage point to their respective Claimant Count total proportions. The remaining Lancashire-14 authorities saw no change to their proportions over the month.

Table 2: Total Claimant Count numbers [1] and proportions (%) [2] (16-64) [3], September 2017, and monthly and yearly changes

  Total Claimants Monthly change Yearly change
Area Number % in number % in prop'n in number % in prop'n
Burnley 2,050 3.8 50 2.5 0.1 370 22.0 0.7
Chorley 1,165 1.6 -15 -1.3 -0.1 75 6.9 0.1
Fylde 635 1.4 -30 -4.5 -0.1 35 5.8 0.1
Hyndburn 1,355 2.7 10 0.7 0.0 110 8.8 0.2
Lancaster 2,395 2.6 5 0.2 0.0 865 56.5 0.9
Pendle 1,145 2.1 25 2.2 0.1 -15 -1.3 0.0
Preston 2,175 2.3 0 0.0 0.0 240 12.4 0.2
Ribble Valley 245 0.7 0 0.0 0.0 -5 -2.0 0.0
Rossendale 935 2.1 20 2.2 0.0 55 6.3 0.1
South Ribble 965 1.4 -10 -1.0 -0.1 105 12.2 0.1
West Lancashire 1,225 1.8 -55 -4.3 0.0 -90 -6.8 -0.1
Wyre 1,020 1.6 -15 -1.4 0.0 50 5.2 0.1
Lancashire-12 15,305 2.1 -20 -0.1 0.0 1,785 13.2 0.3
Blackburn with Darwen 2,670 2.9 5 0.2 0.0 50 1.9 0.0
Blackpool 3,635 4.3 10 0.3 0.1 400 12.4 0.5
Lancashire-14 21,605 2.4 -5 0.0 0.0 2,230 11.5 0.3
North West 111,645 2.5 -420 -0.4 0.0 6,430 6.1 0.2
England 648,865 1.9 -930 -0.1 0.0 35,740 5.8 0.1
Great Britain 765,760 1.9 -5.805 -0.8 0.0 32,625 4.5 0.1
United Kingdom 795,470 1.9 -6,880 -0.9 0.0 27,165 3.5 0.0

Notes: [1] All Claimant Count numbers are rounded to the nearest 5. Claimant Count numbers may not sum exactly to the number of people claiming JSA (published on Nomis) and the number of people claiming Universal Credit and required to seek work (published by DWP), owing to independent rounding.

[2] Proportions are calculated using the mid-2015 resident population aged 16-64.

[3] At the UK level, there may be a very small number of persons aged 65 or over contained within the Claimant Count figures. Over the last year, the number of persons aged 65 or over in the UK ranged between 30 and 50 people. In the Lancashire-14 area, the number of persons aged 65 or over has numbered only 5 for two of the months of November 2016 and December 2016.

Source: Office for National Statistics via the National On-line Manpower Information System (Nomis), Claimant Count dataset.

Yearly change

The UK Claimant Count total rose by 3.5% (21,165 persons) over the previous year. This was lower than the percentage increase recorded in the Lancashire-12 area of 13.2% (1,785 persons) and the 11.5% percentage rise (2,230 people) seen across the Lancashire-14 area.

Eleven of the Lancashire-14 authorities recorded yearly increases to their Claimant Count totals. Lancaster's total rose by far the greatest extent (865 people, 56.5%) in the Lancashire-14 area, increasing from 1,530 people to 2,395 persons. Blackpool (400 persons, 12.4%), Burnley (370 persons, 22.0%) and Preston (240 persons, 12.4%) saw the next largest yearly increases. Lancaster's increase accounted for 38.8% of the Lancashire-14 total rise (2,230 people). West Lancashire (90 people, 6.8%), Pendle (15 people, 1.3%) and Ribble Valley (5 people, 2.0%) were the three Lancashire-14 authorities to recorded reductions to their Claimant Count totals over the year.

Ten of the eleven Lancashire-14 authorities that recorded yearly increases to their Claimant Count totals had percentage increases that were greater than the UK percentage increase of 3.5%, ranging from 5.2% in Wyre (50 persons) to 56.5% in Lancaster (865 persons). Of these eleven, Blackburn with Darwen (1.9%, 50 persons) was the authority that saw a percentage rise that was lower than UK increase.  

The UK total Claimant Count proportion was 1.9% in both September 2017 and September 2016. The Lancashire-14 area saw its total Claimant Count proportion rise by 0.3 percentage points, to 2.4% over the year. The Lancashire-12 area also recorded a yearly proportion increase of 0.3 percentage points, rising to 2.1%.

Within the Lancashire-14 area, ten of the local authority areas saw yearly increases to their total Claimant Count proportions. Lancaster (+0.9 percentage points), recorded the largest yearly rise, increasing to 2.6% in September 2017. Burnley (+0.7 percentage points) and Blackpool (+0.5 percentage points) also saw their proportions rise above the Lancashire-14 yearly increase of 0.3 percentage points. West Lancashire was the only Lancashire-14 authority to record a fall to its total Claimant Count proportion, dropping by 0.1 percentage point to 1.8%. Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Ribble Valley all had the same total Claimant Count proportions in September 2017 as they did in September 2016.

Further data analysis and information

September 2017 Claimant Count data and monthly and yearly change analysis, including by gender (EXCEL 24KB)

Universal Credit background information PDF document (PDF 898 KB)

 Page updated October 2017