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.

As the Claimant Count data now include those Universal Credit claimants who are required to seek work and be available for work, the initial publication of the Claimant Count figures are 'provisional'. As the Universal Credit figures are revised in the month after their initial publication, the Claimant Count figures are also now revised a month after their initial release.  

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.

Key findings

Analysis of the August 2018 figures (provisional)

In August 2018, the provisional Claimant Count in the United Kingdom totalled 919,000 people and the proportion of working age residents aged 16 to 64 years on the Claimant Count was 2.2%. Of the total, 550,425 were men and 368,575 were women. The proportion for men (2.7%) was higher than that for women (1.8%). Males accounted for 59.9% of the Claimant Count total. The total was up by 12,845 people (1.4%) on the previous month, and up by 116,730 persons (14.5%) over the year.

The total provisional Claimant Count in the Lancashire-12 area was 17,055 in August 2018 and the proportion was 2.3%. Of the total, 10,080 were men and 6,975 were women. The proportion for men (2.7%) was higher than that for women (1.9%). Males accounted for 59.1% of the Claimant Count total. The total had increased by 70 people (0.4%) on the previous month, and by 1,730 persons (11.3%) over the previous year.

For the Lancashire-14 area, a provisional total of 24,195 persons were on the Claimant Count in August 2018 and the proportion was 2.6%. Of the total, 14,525 were men and 9,675 were women. The proportion for men (3.2%) was higher than that for women (2.1%). Males accounted for 60.0% of the Claimant Count total. The total was up by 160 persons (0.7%) on the previous month, and up by 2,585 persons (12.0%) over the year.

In the Lancashire-12 area, Burnley (2,730), had the largest provisional Claimant Count total in August 2018, followed by Lancaster (2,715), and Preston (2,215). Ribble Valley (280) had the lowest total.

The provisional Claimant Count totals for Blackburn with Darwen (3,575) and Blackpool (3,570) were greater than all of the Lancashire-12 individual areas.

The Claimant Count proportions for the Lancashire-12 area (2.3%) and the Lancashire-14 area (2.6%) were greater than the UK proportion (2.2%) in August 2018.

Four of the Lancashire-12 authorities had provisional proportions that were above the UK figure (2.2%). These were Burnley (5.1%), Hyndburn (3.7%), Lancaster (3.0%) and Preston (2.4%). Ribble Valley (0.8%) had the lowest proportion in the Lancashire-12 area.

Blackpool (4.2%) and Blackburn with Darwen (3.9%) also had provisional proportions that were greater than the UK figure (2.2%).

The provisional proportions for Burnley, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and Lancaster were also above the North West proportion (2.8%).

Table 1: Total Claimant Count numbers [1] and proportions (%) [2] (16-64) [3], August 2018 (provisional), and monthly and yearly changes.

Table 2: Male Claimant Count data. Table 3: Female Claimant Count data.

Notes: [1] All Claimant Count numbers are rounded to the nearest 5. Claimant Count numbers may not sum exactly to the combined 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 from 2017 onwards are calculated using the mid-2017 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. 

 

For men, Burnley (5.7%), Hyndburn (4.3%) and Lancaster (3.6%) had the largest provisional male Claimant Count proportions in the Lancashire-12 area (2.7%) in August 2018 (UK male proportion = 2.7%).

Blackpool (5.3%) and Blackburn with Darwen (4.6%) also had provisional male Claimant Count proportions that were above the UK figure (2.7%).

For women, Burnley (4.5%), Hyndburn (3.1%) and Lancaster (2.4%) had the greatest provisional female Claimant Count proportions in the Lancashire-12 area (1.9%) in August 2018 (UK female proportion = 1.8%).

Blackpool (3.1%) and Blackburn with Darwen (3.0%) again had provisional female Claimant Count proportions that were above the UK figure (1.8%).

Universal Credit full service provision roll out

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. More complex claims are also processed. The result has been an acceleration in the number of persons claiming Universal Credit in Lancaster (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) since July 2016, which fell by 72.8% (or 618 persons) from to 849 people in July 2016, to 231 persons in July 2018. 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, West Lancashire in December 2017 and Blackburn with Darwen and Hyndburn in February 2018. Preston and South Ribble became Universal Credit full service areas in March 2018 and Chorley in April 2018. Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale all became Universal Credit full service areas in July 2018. A similar impact on Universal Credit numbers to that experienced in Lancaster is expected to be seen in these local authority areas 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) - August 2018 (provisional)

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

Claimant Count data versus official unemployment and small area 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.

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.

Monthly change

The UK Claimant Count total rose by 1.4% (12,845 persons), provisionally, over the previous month. The Lancashire-12 area saw a lower monthly percentage increase of 0.4% (70 persons). The Lancashire-14 area recorded a slightly greater monthly percentage rise of 0.7% (160 persons), although this was again lower than the UK increase.

Five of the Lancashire-12 authorities also recorded provisional monthly increases to their Claimant Count totals. The rises were recorded in Burnley (70 people, 2.6%), Hyndburn (60 people, 3.4%), West Lancashire (45 people, 2.9%), Wyre (30 people, 3.3%) and Ribble Valley (10 people, 3.7%).

Blackburn with Darwen unitary authority (125 people, 3.6%) also saw a provisional increase to its Claimant Count total over the previous month.

Seven of the Lancashire-12 authorities recorded provisional monthly decreases to their Claimant Count totals. Totals decreased the most in Preston (-65 people, -2.9%), South Ribble (-30 people, -3.2%) and Fylde (-25 people, -4.1%).

Blackpool unitary authority (-30 people, -0.8%) also recorded a provisional decrease to its Claimant Count total over the last month.

Rossendale saw no change to its Claimant Count total over the previous month.

The UK total Claimant Count proportion was unchanged (provisionally) over the previous month, at 2.2%. The proportions for the Lancashire-12 area (2.3%) and the Lancashire-14 area (2.6%) were also unchanged over the month (provisionally).

Within the Lancashire-12 area, the three authority areas of Hyndburn, Burnley and West Lancashire each recorded provisional monthly increases of 0.1 percentage point to their individual proportions.

Contrary to this, the two Lancashire-12 authority areas of Chorley and Preston each saw a provisional monthly fall of 0.1 percentage point to their respective proportions.

The remaining seven authorities in the Lancashire-12 area saw no change to their proportions over the previous month.

The unitary authority of Blackburn with Darwen saw a provisional monthly rise of 0.2 percentage points to its Claimant Count proportion over the previous month, whilst Blackpool unitary authority recorded no change.

Yearly change

The UK Claimant Count total rose by 14.5% (116,730 persons), provisionally, between August 2017 and August 2018. This was higher than the percentage increase recorded in the Lancashire-12 area of 11.3% (1,730 persons) and the 12.0% rise (2,585 people) seen across the Lancashire-14 area.

Eight of the Lancashire-12 authorities recorded provisional yearly increases to their Claimant Count totals. Of these, Burnley (+735 persons, +36.8%) saw the largest increase over the year, followed by Hyndburn (+460 persons, +34.2%), West Lancashire (+335 +26.3%) and Lancaster (+325 persons, +13.6%). These four areas have seen the Universal Credit full-service provision rolled out the earliest in the Lancashire-12 area.

Blackburn with Darwen unitary authority (+910 persons, +34.1%) saw the largest provisional increase to its total in the broader Lancashire-14 area over the year. Blackburn with Darwen is also an area that has seen the Universal Credit full-service provision rolled out early in the Lancashire-14 area.

Four of the individual Lancashire-12 areas recorded provisional reductions to their Claimant Count totals over the year. Fylde (-90 people, -13.4%) and Wyre (-90 people, -8.7%) saw the greatest provisional decreases, followed by Chorley (-70 people, -5.9%), and South Ribble (-60 people, -6.1%).

Blackpool unitary authority (-55 people, -1.5%) also saw a provisional reduction to its Claimant Count total over the year.

Three of the eight Lancashire-12 authorities that recorded yearly increases to their Claimant Count totals and Blackburn with Darwen unitary authority had yearly percentage increases that were greater than the UK percentage increase of 14.5%, ranging from 26.3% in West Lancashire (335 people) to 36.8% in Burnley (735 persons). These four areas have seen Universal Credit full-service provision rolled out the earliest in the Lancashire-14 area.

The UK total Claimant Count proportion rose provisionally by 0.3 percentage points between August 2017 and August 2018 to 2.2%. The Lancashire-12 area saw its total Claimant Count proportion rise provisionally by a marginally lower 0.2 percentage points, to 2.3% over the year. The proportion for the Lancashire-14 area also increased provisionally, by 0.2 percentage points, to 2.6%.

Within the Lancashire-12 area, eight of the local authority areas saw yearly increases to their total Claimant Count proportions (provisional). Burnley (+1.4 percentage points), Hyndburn (+1.0 percentage points), West Lancashire (+0.5 percentage points) and Lancaster (+0.4 percentage points) recorded the largest increases over the year. Again, these four areas have seen the Universal Credit full-service provision rolled out the earliest in the Lancashire-12 area.

Blackburn with Darwen unitary authority (+1.0 percentage point) also recorded a provisional rise to its Claimant Count proportion over the year. Blackburn with Darwen is also an area that has seen the Universal Credit full-service provision rolled out early in the Lancashire-14 area.

Four of the Lancashire-12 areas recorded provisional reductions to their Claimant Count proportions over the year. Fylde (-0.2 percentage points) saw the greatest yearly reduction in the area, followed by Wyre, South Ribble and Chorley, which each recorded falls of 0.1 percentage point in their individual proportions.   

The proportion for Blackpool unitary authority was the same in August 2018 as it was in August 2017 (provisionally).

 

Further data analysis and information

August 2018 provisional Claimant Count data and monthly and yearly change analysis, including by gender (EXCEL 23KB)

Universal Credit background information PDF document (PDF 898 KB)

Page updated 13 September 2018