The latest ONS employment stats show more people working in the UK than ever before and unemployment returning to pre-recession levels but Claimant Count numbers indicate a rise in the out-of-work in Brighton and Hove.
Chancellor Osborne is happy
Excellent stats this morning: a record employment rate (73.9%), unemployment & youth unemployment rates fall to 9 year lows & wages rising
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) December 16, 2015
When it comes to work The Office of National Statistics recognise three types of people: Doing any paid work at all is Employed, Looking for work is Unemployed. Everybody else, aged between 16-64, is Economically Inactive.
The estimates come from the Labour Force Survey which interviews 41,000 households.
The most recent UK figures are for the 3 months to October. The latest comparable figures for local authorities are for the year to June.
If the recession started half way through 2008, Brighton and Hove unemployment reached a peak at 8.8% in Sept 2013 and is now at 5.8%.
31 million workers in the UK is an all time high and 2 million have been added since Osborne became Chancellor in June 2010.
At the start of the recession there were job losses but economists were surprised that unemployment only reached 8% in the UK. Our neighbours in Ireland had 15%, The US 9%. Over a quarter of the working population were not-working in hard-hit countries like Spain.
In Brighton the number of people working actually increased. Taking the first quarter of 2008 as Recession Year-Zero; at first the self-employed became unemployed then, from the beginning of 2012, self-employment drove job numbers up in Brighton, and across the country.
According to the Government commissioned Labour Market Story many of the new self-employed are the over-50s and many of them are not earning much.
Unemployment stayed relatively low and employee numbers increased due to a surge in immigration from the hard-hit EU countries and a flexible workforce, or as Ed Miliband said: “The epidemic of Zero Hour Contracts.”
The Financial Times believe people have a choice and said: “British workers deserve much of the credit for reacting to the slowdown by accepting less pay and hours.”
The latest ONS figures are Claimant Count(CC) statistics for November 2015. They indicate that unemployment across Great Britain is falling, Middlesbrough is the local authority with the highest numbers claiming, Stratford-on-Avon the lowest. Despite being considered a thriving vibrant city Brighton and Hove is average
Claimant Count figures are the number of people claiming any unemployment benefit on a certain day. Benefits include Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and anyone unemployed receiving Ian Duncan-Smith’s Universal Credit. The CC has less margin for error than an estimate from The Labour Force Survey particularly for regions and local areas . But many unemployed don’t or can’t sign-on: Due to their partners working, they’re in full-time study or have a pension. Also employed working less than 16 hours a week can still claim JSA.
However the ONS and the BBC reckon that The Claimant Count correlates with unemployment. Mapping local authoritys shows the highest levels in the North-East and Birmingham. In the prosperous south, coastal holiday towns like Hastings and Margate in Thanet stand out. Despite Government regeneration schemes they refuse to be regenerated.
The final unemployment stats of the year indicate a continuing recovery but with Osborne warning of a cocktail of threats in 2016 maybe British workers should stay flexible.