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The Claimant Count is a measure of the number of people claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed, based on administrative data from the benefits system. This is primarily Jobseeker’s Allowance but will also include certain Universal Credit claimants as the new benefit is introduced.

The Claimant Count does not attempt to measure unemployment, which is defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as all those who are out of work, actively seeking work and available to start work. However, since the people claiming benefits are generally a particular subset of the unemployed, the Claimant Count can provide a useful indication of how unemployment is likely to vary between areas and over time. The differences between the Claimant Count and unemployment are expanded on in the sections on “Relevance” and “Comparability and coherence”.