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An analysis of the latest UK labour market statistics is available in the Library briefing UK labour market statistics.

The unadjusted claimant count was 1.50 million in February 2023, which was 11,200 less than the month before and 266,000 more than in March 2020.

Following the start of the pandemic, the claimant count more than doubled while the rise in unemployment was much smaller. This was partly due to changes in Universal Credit eligibility, and partly due to people being temporarily away from work or earning less because of the pandemic. Since the beginning of 2021, both measures have decreased, with the claimant count decreasing more rapidly than the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is now back to pre-pandemic levels, while the claimant rate continues to be higher.

The alternative claimant count models what the count would have been since 2013 if Universal Credit had always been in place, to adjust for the fact that more claimants are required to look for work under Universal Credit than under Jobseeker’s Allowance. Alternative claimant count was published for the final time in October 2022 and the series has now ended.

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