The number of unemployed claimants in Dagenham and Rainham constituency in May 2021 was 6,530. This represents a rate of 9.3% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 6.0%.

There are 3,795 more claimants than in March 2020 before the UK lockdown began. Note the majority of this increase happed in March-May 2020 at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As part of the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), a number of enhancements were introduced to Universal Credit. These may have increased the number of employed people who are eligible for unemployment-related benefits.

Whilst some of the increase in the Claimant Count will be due to people who have become unemployed, some will also be due to employed people who have become eligible for Universal Credit as part of the government response.

Figures are not seasonally adjusted and are rounded to the nearest five. “Unemployed claimants” include people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or who are claiming Universal Credit and are required to seek work.

Long term trends            

The unadjusted claimant count is currently not a good indicator of long- term trends in the number of people looking for work. It does however provide us with a measure of how the number of claimants has changed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The adjusted alternative claimant count is updated on a quarterly basis.

The ongoing impact of coronavirus on Universal Credit

Under Universal Credit, a broader spectrum of people are required to look for work than under Jobseeker’s Allowance. This has the effect of increasing the number of unemployed claimants. In addition to this, as part of the government’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), a number of enhancements were introduced to Universal Credit. Consequently, whilst some of the increase in the unemployed claimant count will be due to people who have become unemployed, some will also be due to employed people who have become eligible for Universal Credit as part of the government response to Coronavirus.

Jon Cruddas MP: “Despite the continuation of covid restrictions the government have expressed that the furlough scheme will not be extended. There are over 13,000 currently on furlough in Dagenham and Rainham and many of them will not be able to return to work on June 21 when restrictions were due to be eased. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the figures, but more concerningly, will leave thousands of my constituents in limbo and facing further financial uncertainty.

“Investment in the area is growing and with it new local jobs for local people will become available, but there is no doubt the recovery from the pandemic will take time. As we begin to build back, I will do all I can to work alongside local authorities and agencies, ensuring my constituents have the support they need to get back on their feet.”