LONDON (Thomson Financial) – The number of jobless people in the UK is almost three times as high as the official government claimant count, according to a new study.
The 2007 Real Level of Unemployment study, carried out by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, shows there were 2.6 mln jobless people in the UK in January of this year, compared with the 0.9 mln official claimant count.
The discrepancy, the Sheffield Hallam researchers say, comes from an estimated 1.7 mln ‘hidden unemployed’ who are not included in the official figures. These are working-age people who are either on incapacity benefits or who are actively looking for work, but are not claiming benefits.
“The large fall in claimant unemployment, coupled with the relative invisibility of unemployment on incapacity benefits or off benefits altogether, has created the misleading impression that the unemployment problem is fading away,” the study says.
While unemployment has fallen during the government’s 10 years in power, the drop has been under 600,000 as opposed to the 850,000 as shown by the claimant count, the study says. Furthermore, virtually all this reduction occurred in the government’s first term, between 1997 and 2002, it says. (full text).