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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 1.58 million in January 2024, which was 14,000 more than the month before, 61,000 more than in January 2023 and 349,000 more than the pre-pandemic month of 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. Despite recent increases in the unemployment rate, 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. The alternative claimant count was published for the final time in October 2022 and the series has now ended.


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