The number of unemployed people has risen by 20,000 people compared with the same period last month despite DWP spin that the numbers out of work are falling.
2.34 million people were unemployed in October – December 2013 compared to the figure of 2.32 million a month earlier. The rate of unemployment grew to 7.2% of the working age population, whilst the number of people ‘economically inactive’ also rose.
Today’s figures have led to some confusion with the DWP spinning wildly that everything is fine and unemployment is still falling. The problem lies in the way the figures are presented. It is true that unemployment has fallen from the previous quarter – meaning there were less unemployed people between October – December 2013 than July – September 2013. However there were more unemployed people between October and December 2013 than there were between September and November 2013 – suggesting unemployment rose sharply in December, or that the previous two months figures were exceptionally good and that trend has juddered to a halt.
The good news is that the number on people on workfare has dropped, although the number of people now self-employed – although not necessarily making any money – is soaring, however you look at the figures. The number of people claiming out of work benefits due to sickness or disability is also believed to be on the rise, although finalised official statistics have yet to be released.
The Claimant Count – the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance did fall in January, but this figure doesn’t include new unemployed claimants on Universal Credit. The latest figures show that there were 3,600 people on this benefit by November last year, and the number is likely to have risen considerably since then.
The benefit sanction figures were also released today and show that 236,780 claims were stopped for anywhere between four weeks and three years between July and September last year. This is likely to have an impact on the Claimant Count as many claimants on long term sanctions disappear off the books.
Whether this month’s rise in unemployment continues remains to be seen. About the only thing we can be sure of is that even if it does, the DWP will use every last trick in the book to try and hide the truth about unemployment in the UK. Which is that however you spin the figures there’s still no fucking jobs.
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