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Confusion Over Unemployment

DWP have announced that analysis into the “recent divergence between the two main measures of unemployment - the number of people signing on and the number who declare themselves unemployed” has been launched by ministers.  Yvette Cooper called for the inquiry prior to the release of the unemployment figures earlier this week.

In recent months the claimant count has risen at a much slower rate than the International Labour Organisations count which includes all those looking for work, not just JSA claimants.  But therein lies the problem. The definitions of all of the labour market stats are pretty clear and they aren’t directly comparable.  The claimant count is a monthly figure, the ILO count is a delayed quarterly figure. We find it interesting that this issue is only now being debated as the stats have been produced in this way for quite a while.

It is very likely, in line with suggestions from a variety of sources that some people are living off their redundancy package so aren’t signing on at an early stage, others were second earners in the household and are relying on one salary rather than signing on and other people just don’t want to sign on. 

We aren’t sure how ministers can actually find the answer to the question without tracking down everyone who was made redundant, identify if they’ve signed on, then get them to declare the reason, so the outcome will be interesting.

Remember there are lies, damned lies and statistics.


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