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The Library publishes a monthly research paper, Unemployment by Constituency, providing the latest data on the monthly count of people claiming unemployment benefits in each UK parliamentary constituency.

Traditionally, the research paper has shown the number of people resident in each constituency who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). The introduction of Universal Credit, a new benefit which replaces income-based JSA and certain other benefits, means that the count of JSA claimants may no longer give an accurate picture of the number of people looking for work in certain constituencies.

Therefore, from December 2014, the headline unemployment count and rate shown in the Research Paper includes (i) people claiming JSA, as well as (ii) people not in employment and claiming Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages, so as of yet the number of constituencies affected by this change is relatively small. In these seats, the headline count and rate of unemployed claimants will be higher than if it was based on JSA claimants only.

The Library calculates a claimant rate for constituencies which shows the number of claimants as a proportion of the economically active population. The methodology for calculating the claimant rates shown in the Research Paper was updated in the December 2014 edition (to be published 17 December 2014) to reflect the latest population estimates for parliamentary constituencies and new Census data for Scotland. The resulting revisions to claimant rates are minor.

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