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An analysis of the latest UK labour market statistics is available in the Library briefing UK labour market statistics. For further analysis of the emerging effect of coronavirus on the labour market, see Library briefing Coronavirus: Impact on the labour market.

The unadjusted claimant count was 1.88 million in December 2021, 43,300 less than the month before but 633,500 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 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 latest alternative claimant count data is for November 2021, when the seasonally adjusted alternative claimant count was 1.96 million, 607,400 more than in March 2020.

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