The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed:
- from April 2015, the Claimant Count includes all Universal Credit claimants who are required to seek work and be available for work, as well as all JSA claimants
- between May 2013 and March 2015, the Claimant Count includes all out of work Universal Credit claimants as well as all JSA claimants
- between October 1996 and April 2013, the Claimant Count is a count of the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- between January 1971 (when comparable estimates start) and September 1996, it is an estimate of the number of people who would have claimed unemployment-related benefit if Jobseeker's Allowance had existed at that time
The Claimant Count does not meet the internationally agreed definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Estimates of unemployment are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, Annual Population Survey and modelled estimates which make use of the Annual Population Survey.
The Claimant Count includes people who claim unemployment-related benefits but who do not receive payment. For example, some claimants will have had their benefits stopped for a limited period of time by Jobcentre Plus. Some people claim JSA in order to receive National Insurance Credits.
Under Universal Credit it is expected that a broader span of claimants will claim benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed and therefore be included within the Claimant Count. This means that, with the roll-out of Universal Credit, the level of the Claimant Count series is likely to be higher than it would have been otherwise, even if labour market conditions remain unchanged.