Using the latest unemployment statistics for January 2009, the TUC has worked out the number of jobseeker allowance (JSA) claimants per jobcentre vacancy in every local authority in the UK.
On average there are more than 10 JSA claimants for every jobcentre vacancy in Scotland. But in some parts of Scotland, the jobs outlook is far bleaker. The worst hit areas are Eilean Siar, Argyll and Bute, North Ayrshire and Clackmannanshire.
Across the UK, there are ten JSA claimants for every jobcentre vacancy across the UK. The worst hit area is the Isle of Wight with a ‘claimant to vacancy’ ratio of 60.
The number of claimants per vacancy has more than doubled in the last 12 months from four in January 2008 to ten in January 2009, according to the TUC research.
The STUC believes these findings prove that the UK Government’s often-repeated claim that there is plenty of work still available is no longer credible. The UK Government must now accept that unemployment is a national emergency and use all possible means to stem further job losses, create new jobs and provide greater financial help to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of the their own, says the STUC. The Scottish Government must redouble its efforts to provide a comprehensive package of support to the newly unemployed and those at risk of redundancy.
To help limit further job losses, increase the number of vacancies and provide extra help for the unemployed, the STUC is calling on Government to;
provide short-term wage subsidies to viable firms who are struggling to access credit, topping up workers’ wages and preventing unnecessary and costly job losses;
introduce major public investment programmes to create new jobs in growth areas of the economy such as high skilled manufacturing, creative and green industries; and,
increase JSA from £60.50 a week to at least £75 a week to provide extra financial help for people who are struggling to get by.
Increasing JSA would also produce a much needed boost to the economy as unemployed people are most likely to spend any extra income, rather than save it, says the STUC.
STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said: “Rising unemployment, which we expect to hit two million in the UK later this week, has been matched by an equally shocking decline in job vacancies.
“The Government can no longer claim there is plenty of work available when there are as many as twenty dole claimants per jobcentre vacancy in parts of Scotland.
“The huge swathes of public money used to bail out the banks were a bitter but necessary pill to swallow. Government at all levels must now show the same commitment to tackling rising unemployment, falling vacancies and the poverty caused by a stingy redundancy and benefits regime designed for a previous age of plentiful jobs and economic growth.
“The Chancellor is under immense pressure to come up with the goods in the Budget on 22 April. But struggling businesses and cash-starved families cannot wait that long. Short-term wage subsidies and an increase in JSA could save thousands of jobs and prevent further financial hardship now.”
Notes for Editors
The figures are for January 2009 and were obtained from the Office for National Statistics’ Nomis service (www.nomisweb.co.uk).
The claimant count is based on Jobcentre Plus administrative data and includes everyone who claims Jobseeker's Allowance (including people who do not get any benefit, but sign on for National Insurance credits). Claimants have to declare that they are out of work, capable of, available for and actively seeking work during the week in which their claim is made.
The vacancy figures are also based on Jobcentre Plus administrative data; they represent unfilled vacancies held by jobcentres.
The annual Jobcentre Plus Employer Surveys suggest that about one third of externally advertised jobs are advertised with Jobcentre Plus.
The TUC believes that a local authority area has a jobs shortage if the ratio of unemployed people to vacancies is 6 or higher.
The TUC has used data for the claimant count because it is the most conservative measure of unemployment. Using the ILO definition of unemployment would generate an ‘unemployed people to vacancies’ ratio of 15. Also including ‘economically inactive’ people who, when asked, say they want a job would generate a ‘want work to vacancies’ ratio of over 30.
For further information contact
Stephen Boyd - Assistant Secretary STUC 0141 337 8100