Jobseeker’s Allowance: how long people claim for

Published

Last updated 8 October 2018 - see all updates

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1. Main facts and figures

  • people from the White Other group were more likely than any other ethnicity to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for the shortest time period studied (13 weeks or less)

  • White British people were more likely than than any other ethnicity to claim JSA for the longest time period studied (104 weeks or more)

  • between 2012 and 2017, the percentage of people claiming JSA for 13 weeks or less increased, overall and within every ethnic group

  • new data has been published for the period to July 2018 – this data isn’t currently reflected in the charts, tables and commentary on this page, but you can get a CSV file with the latest figures if you download the data

Things you need to know

Figures for Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claims are based on Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) administrative data (‘claimant count’). They are the number of claimants per month in each year.

Data on the length of claim is taken from the claimant count.

Claims for Universal Credit were not included in the claimant count. So not all the people who were actively seeking work and claiming unemployment benefits during this period are accounted for. The introduction of the new benefit has affected the analysis of JSA claims over time.

What the data measures

This data measures how long people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for across England, Wales and Scotland. It is broken down by ethnicity.

To be eligible for JSA, a person must be aged 16 to 64 and actively looking for work.

For the purposes of this data, the length of claims for JSA are broken down into 6 categories:

  • 13 weeks or less
  • over 13 and up to 26 weeks
  • over 26 and up to 52 weeks
  • over 52 and up to 78 weeks
  • over 78 and up to 104 weeks
  • over 104 weeks
The ethnic categories used in this data

For this data, small counts in some areas and differences in the reporting of ethnicity mean that data may be unreliable when broken down into specific ethnic categories.

Therefore, the data is broken down into 6 broad ethnic groups, where ‘White Other’ refers to White ethnic minorities.

  • White British
  • White Other
  • Black/Black British
  • Asian/Asian British
  • Mixed/Multiple
  • Other

‘Unknown’ is used where ethnicity was not recorded.

2. How long people claim Jobseeker’s Allowance for, by ethnicity

How long people claim Jobseeker's Allowance for, by ethnicity
Ethnicity 13 weeks or less over 13 and up to 26 weeks over 26 and up to 52 weeks over 52 and up to 78 weeks over 78 and up to 104 weeks over 104 weeks
% % % % % %
All 35.8 17.6 15.6 8.3 4.9 17.8
Asian 35.3 18.5 18.6 9.0 4.6 14.0
Black 32.2 17.9 17.0 10.0 5.5 17.4
Mixed 36.9 19.0 17.1 8.7 4.5 13.7
White British 35.5 17.3 15.1 8.1 5.0 19.0
White other 49.9 18.7 13.2 6.0 3.0 9.3
Other 35.8 20.0 19.9 9.6 4.6 10.1
Unknown 33.1 17.2 15.4 8.4 4.7 21.2

Download table data for ‘How long people claim Jobseeker’s Allowance for, by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘How long people claim Jobseeker’s Allowance for, by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Jobseeker’s Allowance: how long people claim for How long people claim Jobseeker’s Allowance for, by ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • just over a third (35.8%) of all claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) lasted for 13 weeks or less

  • almost half (49.9%) of all JSA claims by people of White Other ethnicity were for 13 weeks or less

  • Black people were the least likely to claim for this length of time, with 32.2% of claims by this group lasting for 13 weeks or less

3. Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity and area

Percentage of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity and area
[None] All Asian Black Mixed White British White other Other Unknown
% % % % % % % %
All 35.8 35.3 32.2 36.9 35.5 49.9 35.8 33.1
East 41.2 41.4 40.3 43.8 40.3 55.1 40.2 39.3
East Midlands 36.6 40.2 35.2 39.4 35.4 55.0 41.2 33.3
London 33.7 36.2 30.3 34.9 33.0 42.7 36.7 32.0
North East 28.9 31.2 27.8 30.8 28.8 42.3 26.3 24.6
North West 37.0 35.5 37.6 39.8 36.3 51.9 37.2 36.8
Scotland 36.8 41.8 43.8 40.3 35.8 58.9 32.3 32.1
South East 41.0 41.7 41.4 45.8 40.3 50.8 40.5 41.1
South West 39.5 38.5 34.4 37.2 39.1 53.4 36.5 38.7
Wales 34.1 40.0 42.6 43.3 33.1 53.6 36.7 33.3
West Midlands 31.8 30.3 27.4 29.4 32.7 50.0 31.3 27.6
Yorkshire and The Humber 36.3 33.6 36.1 39.8 35.8 54.2 37.6 35.5

Download table data for ‘Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity and area’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity and area’ (CSV)

Summary of Jobseeker’s Allowance: how long people claim for Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity and area Summary

This data shows that:

  • in Scotland, Wales and the South East of England, people from Asian, Black, Mixed and White Other groups were more likely than White British people to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for 13 weeks or less

  • the East of England had the highest percentage of claims for 13 weeks or less (41.2%)

  • in every region and nation, the White Other group was most likely to claim JSA for this length of time

  • overall, the lowest percentage of claims for JSA for 13 weeks or less was in the North East of England (28.9%)

  • in the North East of England and Scotland, claimants from the Other and Unknown ethnic groups were the least likely to claim JSA for 13 weeks or less, and therefore more likely to claim for longer than this time period

4. Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity over time

Percentage of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity over time
Month All Asian Black Mixed White British White other Other Unknown
% % % % % % % %
Apr-2012 34.3 34.8 29.1 34.8 34.4 43.1 33.3 33.3
Apr-2013 34.2 34.5 29.0 34.5 34.2 43.0 32.1 34.3
Apr-2014 36.1 36.0 32.3 37.6 36.1 41.0 32.5 36.5
Apr-2015 39.6 39.5 36.0 41.0 39.4 48.0 38.9 40.0
Apr-2016 36.6 37.0 33.5 39.0 35.9 54.2 38.1 33.4
Apr-2017 35.8 35.3 32.2 36.9 35.5 49.9 35.8 33.1

Download table data for ‘Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Jobseeker’s Allowance: how long people claim for Claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance lasting for 13 weeks or less, by ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, the percentage of claims lasting 13 weeks or less peaked in April 2015 at 39.6%

  • between April 2016 and April 2017, the percentage of claims lasting for 13 weeks or less declined for all ethnic groups, while remaining higher in 2017 than it had been in 2012

5. Methodology

The introduction of Universal Credit in 2013 affected the analysis of JSA claims over time. It led to some inconsistency in coverage and ongoing development work which has caused the series to be reclassified from National Statistics status to experimental official statistics.

As Universal Credit replaces JSA, only looking at JSA claims from 2013 onwards will result in an undercount of adults claiming a benefit while they are actively looking for work.

The JSA figures are drawn from the JobCentre Plus administrative sources held by the DWP and calculated. The claimant count includes a small number of clerical (paper) claims (0.2%), which are not held on Jobcentre systems. There is limited data on these claims, so they are not included in any tables by ethnicity. The Office for National Statistics Labour Market Division analyses and publishes the data on clerical claims.

The data is extracted monthly, three weeks after the total number of claimants is counted. The time delay between the count and extraction allows time for the claim to be processed by JobCentre Plus staff and validated as a live claim. It also allows for the full cycle of fortnightly interviews to occur between the count date and the extract being produced.

Length of time claiming JSA is calculated using the start date of the claim and either the end date or the end of the month from which the latest extract has been taken, if they are still claiming the benefit.

As the figures are calculated from administrative data they can be affected by changes to the benefits system and employment-related policy. More information about these changes and how they can influence data is available from the Quality and Methodology Information for JSA Claimant count

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Counts of less than 5 have not been included in the data, because the numbers involved are too small to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Rounding

Percentages shown are rounded to 1 decimal place. The figures in Download the data are rounded to the nearest 5.

Related publications

Jobseeker’s Allowance by Age and Duration, ONS

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

UK Labour Market Statistical Bulletins

6. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Publication frequency

Monthly

Purpose of data source

The data is an administrative source collected to enable Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to monitor and report on claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and other benefits.

7. Download the data

Jobseeker's Allowance how long people claim for v.2 - Spreadsheet (csv) 3 MB

This file contains data for January 2012 to July 2018. This is the latest data available, but does not reflect the figures shown in the charts, tables and commentary on this page. This file contains: ethnicity, time, geography, duration, number of cases, value

Jobseeker's Allowance how long people claim for - Spreadsheet (csv) 3 MB

This file contains data for January 2012 to April 2017. This is the data used in the charts, tables and commentary shown on this page. This file contains: ethnicity, time, geography, duration, number of cases, value