23 October 2017

Learning and Work Institute e-briefing



Making learning and work count

Labour market LIVE from Learning and Work Institute
18 October 2017

  • Unemployment is
    is down by 13,000
    from last month’s published figure (quarterly headline
    decreased by 52,000)
    and the unemployment rate is
    no change
    on last month and down
    percentage points on last quarter.

  • The number of claimant unemployed is
    on last month, and the claimant rate is

  • The number of workless young people (not in employment, full-time education or training) is
    on the quarter, representing
    of the youth population, (no change).

  • Youth unemployment (including students) is
    on the quarter.

  • There are
    unemployed people per vacancy. Learning and Work Institute estimates this figure may fall next month.

  • The employment rate is
    percentage points on last month’s published figure and up
    percentage points in the preferred quarterly measure).

Learning and Work Institute comment

The labour market figures published on
18 October
are pointing towards a slowing in the labour market.

Duncan Melville, Chief Economist at Learning and Work Institute, commented:

‘Employment growth has slowed in the quarterly figures, while the more volatile monthly numbers actually show a fall. However, this has not fed through to unemployment, as the counterpart of employment slowing has been economic inactivity growing (in the monthly figures), rather than unemployment.

Unemployment is down again this month and the unemployment rate is now at its lowest level for 42 years. Despite this fall in unemployment, average earnings growth (excluding volatile bonuses) fell to 2.1%. As yesterday’s inflation release showed price rises significantly higher than this, real wages fell, for the seventh month in a row. There is nothing in this release to justify rises in interest rates.’

Paul Bivand, AD Statistics and Analysis at Learning and Work, added:

‘This release contains a revision to the claimant count figures back to the start of Universal Credit. The grouping of Universal Credit claimants counted as unemployed claimants has been reduced to those with conditionality approximating to JSA rules. This is due to the roll-out of Universal Credit Full Service increasingly including people who are sick or disabled and lone parents with young children. The net effect on the claimant count does not seem to have affected the upward trend, but users should be aware that the whole series has been revised.’
Employment rose by 94,000 between March to May 2017 and June to August 2017. In the last 12 months employment has grown by 317,000.

Unemployment fell by 52,000 between March to May 2017 and June to August 2017. and the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 4.3% in the quarter the joint lowest level since 1975.
Economic inactivity fell by 17,000 between March to May 2017 and June to August 2017. and the inactivity rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 21.4% in the quarter, a new record low. However, the monthly changes are up 69,000 and 0.2 percentage points.
The small rise in the claimant count takes account of normal seasonal effects but adjusted figures are not published for local areas. The actual number of claimants, nationally, fell by 6,900 in the month to September, compared to the adjusted rise of 1,700. Therefore, it should not be surprising that figures for local areas will show falls compared to the national picture.

The proportion of people leaving the claimant count (or the ‘leavers rate’) has fallen. At 15.4%, it is now well below the level in early 2015 of 18.8%. The number of new claims has fallen. Jobseeker’s Allowance off-flow rates for JSA claimants of short durations increased. Off-flow rates remain at historically high levels.

Youth unemployment is showing a quarterly fall. There are still 524,000 unemployed young people, and 343,000 (4.8% of the youth population) who are unemployed and not in full-time education.

The proportion of unemployed young people (not counting students) who are not claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and therefore are not receiving official help with job search is now 52%.
A total of 71,000 were counted as in employment while on ‘government employment and training programmes’, where the Office for National Statistics continues to count Work Programme (etc.) participants as ‘in employment’ by default. This number fell 1,000 this quarter. Self-employment rose 57,000 this quarter and reached a new record proportion of employment. Employee numbers rose 39,000 in the quarter. Involuntary part-time employment rose this quarter by 24,000 to 1 million, 12.3% of all part-time workers. The proportion remains nearly double that in 2004.

Chart 1: UK unemployment (ILO)

The latest unemployment figure is
It has fallen by
from the figure published last month. On the basis of later claimant count figures, Learning and Work Institute estimates that unemployment may rise slightly, although this remains highly uncertain. The unemployment rate showed no change at 4.3%.
chart 1
Chart 2: Percentage unemployed not claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance
The proportion of unemployed people not claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen to

chart 2

Chart 3: Youth long-term unemployment (six months and over, 18-24)

Youth long-term unemployment (which can include students) has risen by
from last month’s figure and is now

The youth long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance count (but not UC) remains far behind, at
20,000. 30% of Universal Credit claimants are aged under 25, so the JSA figures will under-count long-term claims.

chart 3

Chart 4: Adult long-term unemployment (12 months and over, 25+)


Adult long-term unemployment on the survey measure is now
The Jobseeker’s Allowance measure is


chart 4

Chart 5: Unemployment rates by age

The 18 to 24 year old unemployment rate (including students) is
of the economically active – excluding one million economically inactive students from the calculation. The rate for those aged 25 to 49 is
For those aged 50 and over it is
The quarterly change is down
for 18 to 24 year olds, down
for 25 to 49 year olds, and up
for the over-50s.
chart 5

Chart 6: Young people not in employment, full-time education or training


The number of out of work young people who are not in full-time education
has fallen in the past quarter by
, or
Just under two out of every three (64.4%) out of work young people not in full-time education are economically inactive.
chart 6

Chart 7: Youth unemployment

The number of unemployed young people has fallen by
since last month’s figures, to
524,000.Meanwhile, the number of young Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants fell last month by
to 162,607.
There are
unemployed young people who are not in education, and do not claim Jobseeker’s Allowance,
of all unemployed young people who are not students.In addition there are 180,000 in full-time education who are unemployed.
chart 7
Chart 8: Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimant count

The Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimant count fell by
in September,
taking the total to
the number of lone parents claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was 63,915. 13.8% of JSA claimants and 7.9% of the JSA/UC claimant count. Lone parents with a youngest child aged five or over can only claim JSA (or UC Full Service), unless they have other reasons for claiming benefit.

chart 8

Chart 9: Jobseeker’s Allowance – new claims and leavers


The number of new Jobseeker’s Allowance claims fell by
this month, to
Meanwhile the number of leavers also fell, by
85,600. These figures are affected by the continued roll-out of Universal Credit. Nevertheless, if there was a downturn, there would be a turn upwards in new JSA claims in areas not covered by Universal Credit Full Service.

chart 9

Chart 10: Jobseeker’s Allowance – claimant count leavers rate – leavers as percentage of ‘could leave’


Learning and Work Institute estimates that the ‘leavers rate’ – people who have left Jobseeker’s Allowance as a proportion of those who could leave it – has fallen to

chart 10

Chart 11: Jobseeker’s Allowance – claimants staying through each three-month threshold (seasonally adjusted)
These measures show an improvement for claimants at all lengths of unemployment, except the shortest term.

The proportion staying beyond three months has fallen to
46%. Longer-term claimants continue to be within the Work Programme, though referrals stopped in April.

chart 11

Chart 12: Jobseeker’s Allowance – proportion of starters in month becoming longer-term unemployed
The proportion of starters becoming 12-month claimants is now
This is likely to rise over the next few months as the proportion of starters becoming 9-month claimants has risen by 1.5 percentage points over the last three months.

These figures are based on those in Chart 11, but show the patterns of the same people passing through successive quarterly thresholds.chart 12

Chart 13: Vacancies – whole economy survey

Vacancies (in the Office for National Statistics survey of the whole economy) rose this month, to
As the number of vacancies is quite volatile, and frequently revised, the Office for National Statistics uses a three-month average.

chart 13

Chart 14: Unemployed people per vacancy


There are
unemployed people per vacancy. Learning and Work Institute estimates this figure may fall slightly next month.chart 14

Chart 15: UK employment


Employment fell by
on the figure published last month, to
chart 15

Chart 16: Employment rate in the UK

The employment rate rose by
percentage points over the quarter, to
75.1%, but fell on last month’s figure, by 0.1 percentage point.

chart 16

Chart 17: Claimants for inactive benefits and the economically inactive – inactivity benefits

The number of people inactive owing to long-term sickness trended upwards, while benefit figures are falling.

This chart shows claimants of Employment and Support Allowance, and Incapacity Benefit (the orange dots), compared with survey figures for the economically inactive owing to long-term sickness.chart 17

Chart 18: Claimants for inactive benefits and the economically inactive – lone parents


The survey figures (showing those looking after family) fell sharply while benefit measures fell slowly.

This chart shows claimants of Income Support as lone parents, plus lone parents claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (the orange dots) and survey figures for all those who are economically inactive looking after family (including couple families).

chart 18

Chart 19: Employment rate quarterly change in regions –
June to August 2017


This quarter,
regions showed a rise in the employment rate, led by
the West Midlands and Scotland.
The employment rate fell in
led by the East Midlands and South West.

chart 19

Chart 20: Unemployment rate quarterly change in regions –
June to August 2017


regions showed an improvement in the unemployment rate this quarter.
showed a worsening. The rises were led by
the East Midlands
and Scotland.chart 20

Chart 21: Inactivity rate quarterly change in regions –
June to August 2017

Overall, there was a quarterly
percentage point fall in the inactivity rate.
regions showed rises in inactivity, led by
the South West and Northern Ireland.

chart 21

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If you have any questions, contact Paul Bivand
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