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New unemployment data for February 2018

21 March 2018

Unemployment figures (Claimant Count, Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)) for February 2018 were released on Wednesday 21 March 2018 by the Department of Works and Pensions, and are now available in profiles, tables and maps. Figures shown use the headline 'Claimant Count' indicator introduced in October 2015, which counts the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance plus those who claim Universal Credit who are out of work.


The unemployment total for Kirklees in February 2018 was 6,625 or 2.4% of 16-64 year old population (England 2.0%). This represents an increase of +440 on the previous month, and an increase of +720 claimants on the same time last year; the lowest number of claimants in recent years was in December 2016 (5,380). However, under Universal Credit a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under Jobseeker's Allowance. As Universal Credit Full Service is rolled out in particular areas, the number of people recorded as being on the Claimant Count is therefore likely to rise.
The number unemployed January 2008 to date peaked in February 2013 (13,440). In the Leeds City Region York has the lowest unemployment (1.1%), with Calderdale and Barnsley the highest (3.1%).

Youth unemployment (18-24) stood at 1,370 or 3.5% of the population aged 18-24 (England 2.8%), +115 higher than last month and +20 higher than the same time last year. However, the claimant count underestimates youth unemployment as not everyone is entitled to benefit or chooses to claim. From the Annual Population Survey it is estimated that the number of young people unemployed in West Yorkshire is around three times higher than the claimant count.

Over the period July 2016 to June 2017, 866 decisions to apply a sanction or claim disallowed ('adverse') were taken by Kirklees Jobcentres, an average of 72 per month (Source: This figure does not, however, include those who are claiming Universal Credit and have received a sanction or claim disallowed ('adverse').

There are two ways of measuring unemployment. The alternative method to the claimant count is the Annual Population Survey which is less accurate, but counts people who are not eligible for benefit that are out of work and actively seeking work. In Kirklees the latest model-based unemployment figure was 10,200 or 4.8% of those aged 16 and over and economically active (England 4.5%). However, confidence intervals reveal that the true number unemployed for Kirklees could lie between 7,900 and 12,500 (3.7% to 5.9), so this helps to show why this measure is not often quoted; nevertheless the trend has been downwards, and the latest figure for people surveyed between October 2016 and September 2017 is statistically significantly lower than October 2012 and September 2013.

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