Claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance

NOTE

Future reporting of Jobseeker's Allowance data

As from October 2017, Business Intelligence at Lancashire County Council will no longer monitor the claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance on a monthly basis. This is owing to the roll out of the Universal Credit benefit system across the UK, which is gradually reducing the number of claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance. The analysis of Jobseeker's Allowance figures for August 2017, provided below, is therefore the last regular monthly update of this dataset on the Lancashire Insight website. Future updates will be on a much reduced frequency. Readers may, however, find our monthly analyses of the Claimant Count and the Universal Credit dataset to be of interest. 

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. The Claimant Count therefore now provides a more comprehensive dataset of those persons claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. 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.

Summary

Data for August 2017 and the monthly/yearly change figures may be affected by differing speeds of the roll out of Universal Credit across the country. This should be borne in mind when analysing the figures.

In August 2017, claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) in the UK totalled 476,718 people and the proportion of working age residents aged 16 to 64 years claiming JSA was 1.2%. The proportion for men (1.4%) was higher than that for women (0.9%). Males accounted for 59.4% of claimant total.

Within the Lancashire-14 area, only Blackpool (1.8%) and Blackburn with Darwen (1.5%) had proportions which were greater than the UK average of 1.2%. Burnley and Preston had proportions that were the same as the UK figure. Lancaster (0.3%) and Ribble Valley (0.3%) had the lowest proportions in the area.

JSA claimants in the Lancashire-14 area totalled 8,920 and the proportion was 1.0%, which was lower than the UK proportion of 1.2%. Of the JSA total, 5,533 were men and 3,387 were women. The proportion for men (1.2%) was higher than that for women (0.7%). These were lower than the respective proportions for men (1.4%) and women (0.9%) at the UK level. Males in the Lancashire-14 area accounted for 62.0% of the total.

Lancaster (67.4%) and Blackpool (65.5%) had the greatest percentages of men as a proportion of their respective JSA totals in the Lancashire-14 area (UK = 59.4%), whilst Ribble Valley (56.5%, 65 men) had the lowest percentage.

Figure 1: Proportions of working age residents aged 16 to 64 claiming Jobseeker's Allowance – August 2017

 

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

Yearly change

The UK proportion has fallen by 0.1 percentage point over the year, from 1.3% to 1.2%. Numbers fell by 76,430 people (13.8%).

The Lancashire-14 area recorded a marginal reduction to its proportion of 0.1 percentage point over the year, with numbers falling by 905 persons (9.2%). This was the same as the UK drop of 0.1 percentage point. The Lancashire-12 area also recorded a marginal yearly reduction of 0.1 percentage point with claimants dropping by 657 persons (9.8%).

Within the Lancashire-14 area, four local authorities recorded yearly reductions to their proportions that were greater than the UK fall of 0.1 percentage point.

Lancaster (0.5 percentage points) recorded the greatest yearly reduction to its proportion in the Lancashire-14 area with the number of claimants falling by a substantial 58.6% (452 persons). Lancaster became a Universal Credit full service area in July 2016, which means that persons can process their Universal Credit claims online. This is likely to explain the considerable yearly fall in JSA claimants within Lancaster.

Burnley (0.3 percentage points) recorded the second largest reduction to its proportion in the Lancashire-14 area over the year with claimant numbers falling by 19.7% (162 persons). This was also the second highest yearly percentage fall in the Lancshire-14 area. Burnley became a Universal Credit full service area in May 2017, and the impact on JSA claimant numbers in the area is likely to be a result of this transition. The reduction in the number of JSA claimants in Burnley is anticipated to accelerate over the coming months.

Blackburn with Darwen (0.2 percentage points, 181 persons, 11.8%) and Rossendale (0.2 percentage points, 71 persons, 15.1%) also recorded yearly falls to their respective JSA proportions that were greater than the UK decrease of 0.1 percentage point.

West Lancashire (0.1 percentage point, 53 persons), Pendle (0.1 percentage point, 60 persons) and Ribble Valley (0.1 percentage point, 15 persons) each recorded yearly falls to their respective proportions that were equal to the UK decrease of 0.1 percentage points.

Despite the roll out of Universal Credit, the two authorities of Preston and South Ribble each recorded an increase to their respective JSA claimant proportion of 0.1 percentage point over the year, whilst the proportions for Blackpool (1.8%), Hyndburn (1.1%), Chorley (0.8%), Wyre (0.7%) and Fylde (0.7%) were the same as they were in August 2016.

Four of the Lancashire-14 authorities recorded yearly increases to the number of persons claiming JSA. The increases were in Preston (130 persons, 10.8%), South Ribble (42 persons, 10.0%), Fylde (19 persons, 6.2%) and Wyre (1 person, 0.2%).

Numerically, after Lancaster (-452 persons), Blackburn with Darwen (-181 persons, -11.8%), Burnley (-162 persons, -19.7%), Rossendale (-71 persons, -15.1%) and Blackpool (-67 persons, -4.3%) recorded the greatest falls in JSA claimants over the previous year in the Lancashire-14 area.

The number of JSA claimants decreased by a greater percentage than the UK yearly reduction of 13.8% in three Lancashire-14 authorities. The falls were 58.6% (452 persons) in Lancaster, 19.7% in Burnley (162 people) and 15.1% in Rossendale (71 persons).

Monthly change

Between July 2017 and August 2017, the number of persons claiming JSA in the UK fell by 5,971 people (1.2%), although the proportion remained unchanged at 1.2%.

The proportion of JSA claimants in the Lancashire-14 area remained unchanged at 1.0% over the month, although the number of claimants fell by 32 people (0.4%). The proportion for the Lancashire-12 area also remained unchanged at 0.8%, with the number of claimants reducing by 23 persons (0.4%).

Only five of the Lancashire-14 authorities saw reductions to the number of JSA claimants over the previous month, ranging from 51 people in Burnley, 33 persons in Wyre, to a marginal fall of 1 person in Blackburn with Darwen. Of these, Burnley and Wyre each recorded a monthly reduction of 0.1 percentage point to their respective JSA claimant proportions. The proportions for eleven of the Lancashire-14 authorities were unchanged.

Claimant numbers decreased by greater percentages than the UK fall of 1.2% in the three Lancashire-14 authorities of Burnley (7.2%, 51 persons), Wyre (6.8%, 33 persons) and South Ribble (3.7%, 18 people).

Nine Lancashire-14 authorities saw upswings in the number of JSA claimants over the previous month. The increases ranged from 26 persons (5.7%) in West Lancashire, 18 persons (3.2%) in Pendle, to marginal upturns in Rossendale (1 person, 0.3%), and Hyndburn (1 person, 0.2%). Of these, only Pendle saw its proportion increase over the month, by 0.1 percentage point.

Important notes in relation to the JSA data series and the roll out of Universal Credit

The number of JSA claimants is expected to reduce over the next few years owing to the national roll out of Universal Credit from February 2015 and an increasing number of income-based JSA claimants being processed as Universal Credit claimants. Please note that Universal Credit will not replace contribution-based JSA claimants. Caution should be applied when interpreting the JSA data as totals are likely to have changed in part as a result of the introduction of Universal Credit, rather than claimants finding employment or moving off JSA for other reasons.  

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) began the transition onto the Universal Credit full service for all types of claimant types in May 2016 (in areas beyond London). This means that persons can process their claims online, rather than via the phone. Within the Lancashire-14 area, Lancaster became a Universal Credit full service area in July 2016 and Burnley became a Universal Credit full service area in May 2017. The result of Lancaster becoming a Universal Credit full service area has been an accelerated reduction in JSA claimants and an accelerated rise in persons claiming Universal Credit. The remaining Lancashire-14 authorities are scheduled to become Universal Credit full service areas between December 2017 (West Lancashire) and September 2018 (Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre).

After the Universal Credit full service rollout has been completed, the DWP will then begin moving all remaining existing benefit claimants onto the Universal Credit full service. This is currently expected to be completed by March 2022. Further information on the Universal Credit full service can be found via this Gov.uk web link. The Universal Credit full service rollout schedule is available via this web link.   

True assessment of Universal Credit statistics, or individual welfare benefits, is further complicated by the imposition of sanctions, where benefit payments can be withdrawn from claimants for varying periods of time (lasting for up to three years) for non-compliance with Claimant Commitments. At the present time, the total number of people who are subject to sanctions for a single point in time is not able to be provided by the Department for Work and Pensions at the local district level.

Further analysis

Claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance, August 2017 (PDF 1,125 KB) 

Page updated September 2017