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Kirklees unemployment increases by 430 to 10,335 (February 2020)

25 March 2020

Unemployment figures (Claimant Count, Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)) for February 2020 were released on Tuesday 17 March 2020 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 2020 was 10,335 or 3.8% of 16-64 year old population (England 3.0%). This represents an increase of +430 on the previous month, and an increase of +1,060 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 Craven and York have the lowest unemployment (1.3%), with Bradford the highest (5.2%). The ward with the highest unemployment rate is Dewsbury West (6.1%), with Kirkburton the lowest at 1.2%.

Youth unemployment (18-24) stood at 2,025 or 5.4% of the population aged 18-24 (England 4.1%), +70 higher than last month and +105 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 40% higher compared to the claimant count.

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 8,600 or 4.1% of those aged 16 and over and economically active (England 3.9%). However, confidence intervals reveal that the true number unemployed for Kirklees could lie between 10,700 and 6,500 (3.1% to 5.1%), so this helps to show why this measure is not often quoted; nevertheless the trend from this measure has been downwards, and the latest figure for people surveyed between October 2018 and September 2019 is statistically significantly lower than October 2010 and September 2011.

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