Press release

Forgotten millions must get help into work

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The latest employment figures show that record numbers of people of working age are now economically inactive.

The latest employment figures show that record numbers of people of working age are now economically inactive. They also show the scale of the welfare challenge that the new Government has to tackle.

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show that while the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has gone down this month, there are nearly five million people claiming one of the main out of work benefits.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said:

These figures underline why it was so important to stop the jobs tax planned by the previous Government, and why we need to create real incentives for businesses to grow and create job opportunities.

The figures also demonstrate why our planned Work Programme is so important. With nearly five million people on out of work benefits and record numbers of people who are economically inactive, we have to make sure that as the economy grows and jobs are created in the next few years that we learn from the mistakes of the past, and ensure that we provide real help and support for people on benefits so they can take advantage of employment opportunities and make the move into work.

The single Work Programme will offer personalised support to people on a range of benefits, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefits and Employment and Support Allowance.

Ministers have confirmed that they are determined to move quickly on setting up the new programme, which they plan to launch early next year.

Notes to Editors: 

Background to labour market statistics: June 2010

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers February 2010 to April 2010.  The claimant count and Jobcentre Plus vacancy count dates were 13th and 7th May respectively.

The number of people in work rose slightly this quarter

  • 28.86 million people were in work in February to April.
  • the employment level in February-April was 5 thousand higher than in the previous three months, after falling by 54 thousand the previous quarter.  Employment is 213 thousand lower than in the same quarter last year.
  • the employment rate is 72.1%, down 0.1 on the quarter and down 1.2 percentage points on the year.

The number of people on JSA fell this month but there are nearly 5 million people in total claiming one of the main out-of-work benefits:

  • claimant unemployment was 1,481.1 thousand in May 2010, down 30.9 thousand on the level in April, and down 58.2 thousand on the year. 
  • the claimant unemployment rate, at 4.6%, is down 0.1 percentage points on the month and down 0.2 percentage points on the year.
  • in the year to November 2009, the number of people claiming employment support allowance/incapacity benefits rose by 12,880 to 2.62 million.  More recent provisional estimates for April 2010 suggest the position has since remained broadly stable.
  • in the year to November 2009, the number receiving lone parent benefits fell 33,280 to 695.7 thousand.  Provisional figures for April 2010 suggest the number of claimants has fallen further in recent months, to 675,000.

ILO unemployment has risen this quarter

  • 2.47 million people were ILO unemployed in the February to April quarter, up by 23 thousand on the November to January period and up 192 thousand on the same quarter last year. 
  • the ILO unemployment rate is 7.9%, up 0.1 percentage points on the quarter and up 0.6 percentage points on the year.

The level of economic inactivity is up on the quarter and up on the year

  • the economic inactivity level is 8.19 million, up 29 thousand on the quarter and up 298 thousand on the year.
  • the economic inactivity rate is 21.5%, up 0.1 percentage  on the quarter and up 0.7 percentage points on the year.
  • The rise in inactivity over the last year is partly the result of more inactive students.  Excluding students, inactivity as a proportion of the working age population is at 15.5%, up 0.3 points over the last year.

The number of vacancies and the number of redundancies both rose this quarter

  • There were 173 thousand redundancies in February to April, up 6 thousand on the previous quarter but down 137 thousand on the previous year.
  • ONS’s vacancy survey estimates an average of 492 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to May 2010, up 7 thousand on the quarter and up 47 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in February-April was up by 4.2% over the year

  • growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up 1.9% on the year