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Unemployment Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 14th February 2020.

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Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of variations in the ratio of unemployment benefit recipients, including job seeker's allowance and universal credit to ILO-definition unemployment by (a) age group, (b) region, (c) previous occupation and (d) other segmentation in the last five years.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the trend in the ratio of unemployment benefit recipients, including job seeker's allowance and universal credit to ILO-definition unemployment in the last five years.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Over the last five years, the ratio between the Alternative Claimant Count (ACC) measure of claimant unemployment[1], and the ONS official measure of unemployment (based on the International Labour Organisation’s definition of unemployment)[2], has increased. This is shown in the table below and chart attached.

ACC: claimant

unemployment level (thousands)

ONS National Statistic: unemployment level (thousands)

Ratio: ACC / Unemployment

Aug-14

1,545

2,044

0.76

Aug-15

1,299

1,838

0.71

Aug-16

1,219

1,691

0.72

Aug-17

1,194

1,500

0.80

Aug-18

1,195

1,446

0.83

Aug-19

1,263

1,374

0.92

The two measures of unemployment should not be expected to match:

  • Some individuals who are unemployed according to the ACC measure of claimant unemployment may be working but with low earnings (and thus would continue to receive support). They would then be included in the ACC measure of claimant unemployment but not the ONS official measure of unemployment.
  • Some individuals who are unemployed according to the ONS official measure may not be eligible for means-tested support, or may not wish to claim the support available. They would then be included in the ONS official measure of unemployment but not the ACC measure of claimant unemployment.

The tables below show how the ratio between the two measures of unemployment has varied over the last five years, for different ages, genders and regions. The variation by previous occupation is not available.

Age

ACC: claimant

unemployment level (thousands)

ONS National Statistic:

unemployment level (thousands)

Ratio: ACC / Unemployment

Aug-14

Aug-19

Aug-14

Aug-19

Aug-14

Aug-19

16-24

284

210

830

570

0.34

0.37

25-34

388

322

411

263

0.94

1.22

35-49

490

398

474

263

1.03

1.52

50+

384

334

339

278

1.13

1.20

Gender

ACC: claimant

unemployment level (thousands)

ONS National Statistic:

unemployment level (thousands)

Ratio: ACC / Unemployment

Aug-14

Aug-19

Aug-14

Aug-19

Aug-14

Aug-19

Men

844

672

1,125

764

0.75

0.88

Women

702

591

919

609

0.76

0.97

Region

ACC: claimant

unemployment level (thousands)

ONS National Statistic:

unemployment level (thousands)

Ratio: ACC / Unemployment

Aug-14

Aug-19

Aug-14

Aug-19

Aug-14

Aug-19

NE

89

75

122

77

0.73

0.97

NW

191

167

223

166

0.86

1.01

Y&H

163

119

207

116

0.79

1.02

E Mids

107

83

139

113

0.77

0.73

W Mids

170

147

205

124

0.83

1.18

East

113

91

164

113

0.69

0.81

London

251

206

302

233

0.83

0.88

SE

141

122

216

156

0.65

0.78

SW

90

75

135

80

0.67

0.94

Wales

85

63

104

59

0.81

1.06

Scotland

144

115

174

113

0.83

1.02

For nearly all of the categories (with the exception of East Midlands), the ratio of ‘ACC claimant unemployment’ to ‘ONS official unemployment’ has increased between 2014 and 2019. This is predominantly due to a decrease in the ONS official measure of unemployment.

[1] Alterative Claimant Count: Provides a consistent measure of claimant unemployed by modelling what the Claimant Count would have been had Universal Credit been fully rolled-out.

[2] ILO-definition of unemployment: Individuals without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks, and are available to start work within the next two weeks.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No0 people think not

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