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Unemployment figures: The Times, 24 February 2010

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Joe Grice wrote to The Times to point out that people are not excluded from official unemployment figures simply because they are not claiming Job Seeker's Allowance.

Issue date: 24 February 2010
Type: Letter to the Press

Dear Sir,

You have published recent letters stating that people not claiming Job Seeker's Allowance are not recorded in the official unemployment statistics. This is not correct. The number of unemployed people in the UK is measured through the Labour Force Survey (a survey of households) following an internationally agreed definition. Jobless people are classified as unemployed if they are actively seeking work and available to start work or if they have found a job and are waiting to start it. Whether or not a person is claiming benefits is therefore not a factor determining whether they are classified as unemployed.

ONS's latest estimate for unemployment show that there were 2.46 million unemployed people for the three months to December 2009. This figure is substantially higher than the estimates of JSA claimants (1.64 million for January 2010).

Yours faithfully,

Joe Grice,
Chief economist
Office for National Statistics
Government Buildings
Cardiff Road
Newport NP10 8XG

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