Data released on the 15th March 2017 shows that Bexley’s active benefit claimant count (those in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit) increased by 100 from January 2017 to reach 2,120 in February 2017. This is the largest in-month increase in the active benefit claimant count since February 2013.
Source: ONS – Claimant Count and Jobseeker’s Allowance data
The number of male claimants increased by 60 over the period, while the number of female claimants increased by 40. Considering age groups of claimants, the number aged:
- 18 to 24 increased by 25
- 25 to 49 increased by 70
- 50 to 64 increased by 5
As has been the trend since December 2016, the number of JSA claimants increased again – up 20 from January 2017 to reach 1,470 in February 2017. The number of UC claimants increased for the first time since October 2016, increasing by 80 from January 2017 to reach 650 in February 2017 and creating a new high for the benefit on its first year anniversary.
As a result UC claimants make up 31% of the active benefit claimants in Bexley, up 3 percentage points from January 2017. And, for the first time since the introduction of the benefit, the number of UC claimants aged 25 to 49 is higher than the number aged 18 to 24.
Typically we see a rise in the active benefit claimant count in the January to April period, following the end of the seasonal Christmas work and leading into the new financial year. There is certainly scope and indication that this upward trend can be expected for at least the next period to March 2017.
The latest nomis labour market profile for Bexley can be found at https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157262/report.aspx