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Unemployment and worklessness

Key points for October 2017

  • In October 2017 the number of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants in Herefordshire was 642; this is 16 per cent lower than in October 2016 (767). The corresponding claimant rate [1] was 0.6 per cent, lower than the West Midlands region (1.5 per cent) and England as a whole (1.0 per cent).

  • Currently. the number of people claiming JSA for up to 6 months is at the lowest level since Jnuary 2008
  • The wards with the highest number of JSA claimants in October 2017 were Leominster East, Hinton and Hunderton, Newton Farm and Leominster North.

Unemployment is defined as someone who is out of work because they can't find a job. Other reasons for being out of work exist, such as health problems, or caring commitments, but this is not unemployed. 

The main source of information about unemployment in Herefordshire comes from Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) administrative data. JSA claimant count is one of two main measures of unemployment, the other is taken from the Annual Population Survey, which reports the number of working age people (available for work) who report themselves as being unemployed.

Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)

JSA claimant counts are the most timely and accurate source of data at local authority level and below. However, it should be noted that they under-estimate the true level of unemployment, because many people actively seeking a job are either not eligible or do not choose to claim. Furthermore, occasional changes in benefit criteria can cause fluctuations in JSA claimant rate1, which are independent of unemployment levels.

The latest 2011 Census figures provide further information about unemployment. The latest key statistics can be found on the economic activity page

Chart 1: New claimants, claimants leaving benefit and total claimants seasonally adjusted for Herefordshire, 2008 – 2015

Claimant count
Source: ONS - Crown copyright

The main points to note about the most recent figures are listed below (all figures are unadjusted for seasonal variation unless otherwise stated) 

  • The overall claimant count is currently at its lowest level since the economic downturn of 2008. The fall in unemployment may be consistent with increasing employment in the country, however, it may not be entirely attributable to an improving job market, it could also partly be explained by a rise in the number of economically inactive people; for example, some people may have been switched to other benefits (such as incapacity benefit). Furthermore, there recent changes to the sanction regime may have resulted in instances of benefits being removed for non-compliance.

  • In October 2017, 180 people (28 per cent of claimants) had been claiming for more than 12 months, compared with 95 people (15 per cent of claimants) claiming for between 6 and 12 months. The largest number of claimants, 370 people (58 per cent of claimants), had been claiming for less than six months. The most notable drop was seen in the number of people claiming for less than 6 months, falling by 86 per cent since the high point in March 2009

Chart 2: Number of claimants by duration 

Claimants by duration

 Source: ONS - Crown copyright

  • Young claimants (under 25 years of age) experienced the largest fall in unemployment over the last year, falling by a third while number of claimants aged 49-64 years increased by nearly a half (46 per cent).

  • In October 2017, the greatest proportion of Herefordshire claimants by usual occupation were in the ‘sales occupations’ category (70 per cent), followed by ‘elementary trades, plant and storage related occupations’ (6 per cent) and ‘corporate managers’ (5 per cent). The makeup of claimants by usual occupation is broadly the same in Herefordshire as nationally.  Over the last year, there was a notable increase of claimants whose usual occupation was ‘administrative occupations’.

Unemployment rate

The estimated unemployment rate amongst 16-64 year-olds in Herefordshire was 3.1 per cent (3,000 people) in the year to December 2017, statistically significantly lower than both regionally (5.4 per cent) and nationally (4.4 per cent).  This is the lowest it has been since 2004/2005 and continues the downward trend seen since a local post-recession spike of 3.8 per cent in 2016.

Source: ONS-model-based estimates of unemployment

1. The proportion of 16-64 year olds claiming Jobseekers allowance

2. Unemployed as a percentage of the economically active population (16-
    64 years)

3. The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a combined survey of
       households in Great Britain. Its purpose is to provide information on
       key social and socioeconomic variables between the 10-yearly
       censuses, with particular emphasis on providing information relating to
       sub-regional (local authority) areas. Due to sample size limitations,
       APS data is not available below local authority level i.e. data is not
       available for wards and super output areas. 



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Last updated: Tuesday, May 08, 2018