This paper provides figures for the number of people claiming unemployment benefits (the ‘claimant count’ for the UK and by parliamentary constituency.
The unadjusted claimant count was 1.54 million in May 2023, which was 13,600 less than the month before, 38,400 less than in May 2022 and 306,000 more than the pre-pandemic quarter of March 2020.
Following the start of the pandemic, the claimant count more than doubled while the rise in unemployment was much smaller. This was partly due to changes in Universal Credit eligibility, and partly due to people being temporarily away from work or earning less because of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of 2021, both measures have decreased, with the claimant count decreasing more rapidly than the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is now back to pre-pandemic levels, while the claimant rate continues to be higher.