Data released this morning by the Office for National Statistics shows that, in December 2016, Bexley’s active benefit claimant count (those in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit) increased by 15 from the previous month to reach 2,020.
Source: ONS – Claimant Count and Jobseeker’s Allowance data
Data shows this was due to an increase in the number of residents claiming JSA, which is up 30 from November. This is the first increase in the JSA count since August 2016 and the largest in-month percentage increase since February 2016.
December 2016 is the second successive month with a decrease in the estimated number of UC claimants in the borough. This has resulted in UC’s estimated share of the active claimant count falling for the first time since its introduction in February 2016.
The increase in the count, particularly in JSA claimants, is very unseasonal. December 2015 provided Bexley with its lowest ever active claimant count of 1,810, following 4 consecutive months of decline in the count number. As this hasn’t happened this year, the borough didn’t return to the sub-2,000 count level hoped for.
Previous years have seen the active claimant count increase in the December to April period. If the last 4 months have shown us anything, it’s that Bexley’s previous typical trends aren’t in play in the current labour market.
The latest nomis labour market profile for Bexley can be found at https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157262/report.aspx