Press release

Rise in employment welcome, but too many remain dependent on benefits

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

Rising employment and a fall in the overall numbers out of work is reassuring news, but stubbornly high numbers are dependant on benefits.

Rising employment driven by the private sector and a fall in the overall numbers out of work is reassuring news, but the stubbornly high numbers on benefits underlines the urgent need for welfare reform, Employment Minister, Chris Grayling said today.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the numbers in work rose by 167,000 over the quarter, while the numbers classed as unemployed fell by 9,000, and the numbers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell by 3,700 on the month.

However, while the number of people in employment has risen by nearly 300,000 over the last year, around two thirds of this rise is down to rising employment among people who were not born in the UK. Furthermore new benefit figures out today show that there are still around five million people claiming out of work benefits, underlining the need for root and branch reform of the welfare system.

Welcoming the figures Chris Grayling said:

Unemployment is down and employment is up, which is good news. The private sector is leading the way and creating jobs and opportunities for people across the country. Today’s figures show that businesses are responding well and we will continue to help them expand and develop, as the economy grows.

Nonetheless, we have more to do to help those on benefits continue to move into work as well. That’s why we are introducing the Universal Credit to ensure that work will always pay more than a life on benefits and alongside it the Work Programme, which will give people the tailored support they need to move into work and stay there. We have to get our labour force ready for the recovery and our benefit claimants ready for the workplace.

Last week Ministers launched The White Paper, Universal Credit: welfare that works which will remove the complexities of the current benefit system. The Universal Credit will also reduce the scope for fraud and error significantly as it makes the whole system simpler and easier to understand.

Notes to Editors:  Background to labour market statistics: November 2010

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers July to September 2010. The claimant count and Jobcentre Plus vacancy count dates were 14th and 8th October respectively.

The number of people in work rose this quarter

  • 29.19 million people were in work in July to September.
  • the employment level in July-September was 167 thousand higher than in the previous three months, and up 286 thousand on the year.
  • the employment rate is 70.8%, up 0.3 percentage points on the quarter and up 0.1 percentage points on the year.

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

  • claimant unemployment was 1,465.4 thousand in October 2010, down 3.7 thousand on the level in September, and down 162.4 thousand on the year.
  • the claimant unemployment rate, at 4.5%, is unchanged on the month and down 0.5 percentage points on the year.
  • in year to May 2010, number claiming incapacity benefits fell 8,300 to 2.61 million. More recent provisional figure for September is 2.595 million, suggesting level is falling slowly.
  • in year to May 2010, number of lone parents on income support fell 41,400 to 679,200. Provisional figure for September suggests the number has fallen further in recent months, to 665,000, driven by welfare reform.

ILO unemployment has fallen this quarter

  • 2.45 million people were ILO unemployed in the July to September quarter, down by 9 thousand on the April to June period and down 17 thousand on the same quarter last year.
  • the ILO unemployment rate is 7.7%, down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter and on the year.

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

  • the economic inactivity level is 9.3 million, down 83 thousand on the quarter but up 23 thousand on the year.
  • the economic inactivity rate is 23.2%, down 0.2 percentage points on the quarter and down up 0.1 percentage points on the year.
  • excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 17.6%, down 0.2 points on the quarter and 0.1 points on the year.

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

  • There were 145 thousand redundancies in July to September, down 7 thousand on the previous quarter and 59 thousand on the year.__
  • ONS’s vacancy survey estimates an average of 453 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to October 2010, down 27 thousand on the quarter but up 20 thousand on the year./li>

Total weekly pay in July-September was up by 2.0% over the year

  • growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up 2.2% on the year.