Press release

Grayling: labour market shows signs of stabilising

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

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show unemployment (ILO measure) at 2.638 million.

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show unemployment (ILO measure) at 2.638 million compared to the previously published figure of 2.622 million. However, the number of people in work is 38,000 higher than the level published last month.

The rise in the number claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) shows signs of slowing - up 3,000 this month to 1.6 million.  This is despite the impact of welfare reform measures that have increased the number of people moving onto JSA from incapacity benefits or income support.

Today’s figures also show a more stable picture on youth unemployment.  The number of 16 to 24-year-olds who have left full-time education and are seeking work is 730,000, the same as the figure published last month, while the number of full-time students looking for a job has risen to 297,000.

The figures show that in the past 18 months the number of people claiming one of the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by around 40,000 and over the same period the number employed by the private sector has risen by over 500,000.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:

There has obviously been an unwelcome increase in unemployment since the summer but these latest figures show some signs that the labour market is stabilising. The number of people in employment is higher than last month’s published figure and the number of unemployed people is steadying.  Encouragingly this is also the case for young people not in education.

The increase in those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has slowed and our welfare reforms are having a positive impact with overall benefit claimant numbers falling by around 40,000 in the last 18 months.

There are still economic challenges ahead and the government is reacting by helping people to find employment through initiatives with the private sector.

It was announced in the past month that 160,000 incentives of £2,275 will be available to employers who take on young people in the Work Programme. This is more than enough to cover an employer’s National Insurance contributions for a year and exceeds the recommendations by the CBI in their recent report on youth employment.

The £1billion programme to help young unemployed people also pledged 250,000 extra Work Experience places over the next three years, taking the total to at least 100,000 places a year. The private sector has been vital in the success of this scheme with half of under-25 year-olds taking part leaving benefits within three months.

To support private sector growth the New Enterprise Allowance will help people to become self employed and in turn become employers themselves. The initiative provides a business mentor and offers financial support of up to around £2,000, including a weekly allowance for up to 26 weeks and access to a start up loan. 40,000 new businesses are expected to be created by 2013.

Notes to Editors:

Background to labour market statistics: December 2011

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers August to October 2011. The claimant count and Jobcentre Plus vacancy count dates were 10th and 4th November 2011 respectively.

**The number of people in work fell this quarter **

  • 29.11 million people were in work in August to October 2011.
  • the employment level fell 63 thousand on the previous quarter and 14 thousand on the year.
  • the employment rate is 70.3%, down 0.2 points on the quarter and 0.3 points on the year.

**ILO unemployment rose this quarter **

  • 2.64 million people were ILO unemployed in the August to October quarter, up by 128 thousand on the May to July period and up 139 thousand on the same quarter last year.
  • the ILO unemployment rate is 8.3%, up 0.4 percentage points on the quarter and on the year.

**The number of people on JSA rose again this month, but the number claiming one of the other main out-of-work benefits is improving **

  • claimant unemployment was 1,598.6 thousand in November 2011, up 3.0 thousand on the level in October 2011, and up 138.6 thousand on the year.
  • the claimant unemployment rate, at 5.0%, is unchanged on the month but up 0.4 percentage points on the year.
  • the figures continue to be affected by welfare reform, including the ongoing process to re-assess existing claims for incapacity benefits, and this is likely to have made some contribution to the rise in the JSA caseload.
  • in the year to May 2011, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 43,000 to 2.57 million. The most recent provisional figure for October 2011 suggests the caseload has since fallen further to 2.56 million.
  • in the year to May 2011, the number of lone parents on income support fell 84,000 to 595,400. Provisional figures for October 2011 suggest the number has fallen further in recent months, to 585,000, driven by welfare reform.

**The level of economic inactivity is down on the quarter but up on the year **

  • the economic inactivity level is 9.3 million, down 54 thousand on the quarter but up 37 thousand on the year.
  • the economic inactivity rate is 23.2%, down 0.1 point on the quarter but unchanged on the year.
  • excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 17.5%, down 0.3 points on the quarter and 0.1 point on the year.

The number of redundancies and unfilled vacancies fell on the quarter

  • There were 161 thousand redundancies in August to October 2011, down 1 thousand on the previous quarter but up 2 thousand on the year.
  • ONS’s vacancy survey estimates an average of 455 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to November 2011, down 8 thousand on the quarter and 13 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in August to October was up by 2.0% over the year

  • growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up 1.8% on the year.