Comparing December 2012 - February 2013, with the previous three months, there was a rise in the number of unemployed people, a fall in the number of people “not in the labour force”, or economically inactive, and little change in the number of people in work.
The number of people in work remained relatively unchanged with a small fall of 2,000 for December -February 2013 compared to the previous three months and 29.70 million people were in work. The employment rate stood at 71.4% of all people aged 16 to 64.
The number of unemployed people rose by 70,000 between September - November 2012 and December -February 2013 and overall there were 2.56 million people who were looking and available to work but unable to find a job. However there were 71,000 fewer unemployed people compared with a year earlier. The percentage of the labour force aged 16 and over who were unemployed stood at 7.9%. Putting the unemployment rate into historical context, it is 4 percentage points below the peak of 11.9% seen in the mid 1980s.
A fall in the number of women looking after the family or home
A key factor in the increase in unemployment is that the number of people actively engaging with the labour market is increasing. Between September - November 2012 and December - February 2013 the number of people aged 16 to 64 who were “not in the labour force” fell by 57,000 to 8.95 million. A large part of this decrease was for women who remain out of the labour market to look after the family or home, which was down 45,000 between the two periods. The number of women who look after the family or home now stands at 2.06 million, the lowest estimate on record.
A small fall in the number of claimants
Even though there has been an estimated 70,000 rise in the number of unemployed people between September – November 2012 and December – February 2013, there has been a small fall of 7,000 in the number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance between February and March 2013. The claimant count measures the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and differs from unemployment as some unemployed people do not claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, for example, a full-time student who is looking for work may be unemployed but would not usually be eligible for the allowance.
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