Need for debt help may explain JSA rise

The latest quarterly unemployment figures have revealed the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) rose in April, just as it did in…

The latest quarterly unemployment figures have revealed the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) rose in April, just as it did in March.

Such a finding might seem consistent with a picture of a generally deteriorating jobs scene, with more people out of work as the economy stagnates and public sector cuts kick in.

However, this is not the picture revealed by the Office for National Statistics. Its latest quarterly figures for the three months to March indicated there was a fall in the unemployed tally of 36,000 to 2.46 million, down from the 2.48 million recorded in February.

And at the same time, the number in work rose by 118,000 to 70.7 per cent of the working age population.

Yet despite all this, the JSA count was up in April, just as it was in March. The latest figure showed an increase of 12,400 to 1.47 million.

One explanation may be that some have sought to take up the benefit after a long time out of work, since there was a 20,000 rise to 850,000 in the number for those unemployed for over a year.

However, an alternative may be that the need some have for debt help has prompted them to swallow their pride about “signing on” and ensuring they get all the income in they can.

For such people, the road back to work may be easier or harder, depending where they live.

According to a study published this week by the Trades Union Congress, West Dunbartonshire is now the hardest district in which to get a job, as ether are over 40 JSA claimants for each post advertised.

By James Francis

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