Data released this morning by the Office for National Statistics show that Bexley’s active benefit claimant count (those in receipt of Job Seeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit) did not change from December 2016, remaining static at 2,020.
Source: ONS – Claimant Count and Jobseeker’s Allowance data
Despite no overall change in the headline figure, the underlying make-up of the count saw some of the more unusual recent trends continue.
The number of residents claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance increased again – up 30 from December 2016 to reach 1,450 in January 2017. Typically January is the last of several consecutive months where the JSA count falls, so to have 2 month-on-month increases goes against expected trends.
To keep the overall count the same the estimated number of people claiming Universal Credit fell by 30 to 570, meaning that the estimated Universal Credit claimant count has fallen each month for the last quarter.
The total active claimant count figure has barely changed since August 2016, despite typically seeing significant decreases in the count over the August to January period. Typically we would see an increase in the active claimant count from January until April, but, based on the last six months, forecasting very little change could be a safer bet.
The latest nomis labour market profile for Bexley can be found at https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157262/report.aspx