19.03.09

Largest Monthly Rise in Claimant Count for Nearly 30 Years

As the effects of the recession continue to bite, the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance rose by 138,400 last month to reach 1.39 million – the largest monthly rise since 1971. And unemployment in the UK topped 2 million for the first time since 1997.

According to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics, in the 3 months from November to January :-

The unemployment rate was 6.5% - up by 0.5% from the previous 3 months and up by 1.3% on the previous year. The number of unemployed people rose by 165,000 from the previous 3 months to 2.03 million – and was up 421,000 on the previous year.

The working age employment rate was down 0.1% on the previous 3 months and down 0.7% on the year. However the total employment level (including those over state pension age) was up 2,000 over the previous 3 months but fell over the year by 75,000 to reach 29.38 million.

The number of vacancies fell by 74,000 over the 3 months to February to 482,000 - the lowest figure since 2001 - and were down by 203,000 compared with the previous year. 

The economic inactivity rate for people of working age was 20.6% in 3 months to January - down 0.3% from the previous 3 months and on the year. The number of economically inactive people of working age was down by 102,000 to 7.8 million and was down by 78,000 over the past year.

In the 3 months to January, 266,000 people were made redundant in the 3 months prior to their Labour Force Survey interview. This was up 86,000 on the previous 3 months and up 154,000 on the year. It was the highest figure since comparable figures began in 1995.

The number of people over state pension age in work went up by 9,000 (+0.7%) in the 3 months to January to 1.34 million was up by 66,000 (+5.2%) on the previous year.  

The number of people aged 50 to state pension age in paid work rose by 14,000 (+0.2%), and was up 21,000 (+0.3%) over the same period last year.

However, in the 3 months to January, unemployment amongst those 50 to state pension age went up by 35,000 (+12.8%) and the numbers claiming Jobseekers Allowance in February rose by 22,100 to 214,100 (+11.5%).

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