Showing posts with label job seekers allowance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label job seekers allowance. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Thousands of East Londoners in employment experiment

Research done in 2005 found that young people and men on the dole slow down their job searches if they are not watched closely - the findings have inspired a new experiment on East London's unemployed. 

This requires thousands of JSA claimants to sign-on once a week rather than once every two weeks and will therefore increase the workload of a diminished Jobcentre workforce

The original research did the opposite and greatly lowered the number of visits that unemployed people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) had to make to Jobcentres. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Unemployment down except in Queensbridge: Pipe fears Boris betrayal

This is a brief look at how unemployment and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claims have fallen again in Hackney and whether the economics suggest that this is likely to continue. 


I'm afraid there are a lot of charts here. If you want a closer look, click on them and they should expand. The data comes from the government's labour market statistics site Nomis.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Government pilot increases workload at Hackney Jobcentres

Hackney Jobcentre Plus is taking part in a pilot scheme which requires some Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants to sign-on every week rather than every two weeks.

I am one of the 10,600 unemployed people in Hackney claiming Job Seekers Allowance and I was put on the pilot a couple of weeks ago.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Will strikes shut Hackney Jobcentre Plus?

I am unemployed and I went to sign-on on Wednesday. When I got to the Mare Street Jobcentre Plus I was told that I didn't have to come in again for a month (it's usually every two weeks) because the centre would be shut by a strike on 28 March.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Job loss trend becomes clearer

The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Hackney rose by 40 in October, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics published yesterday. It's not a big rise but, as the chart below shows (click on it to expand) while the size of the moves up and down may be calming down, there appears to be a solid upward trend.
In terms of actual numbers, there are now 11,243 JSA claimants, the majority in Hackney South.
In the meantime, as the number of unemployed increases, the level of staffing in Hackney Jobcentre Plus is falling.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hackney Jobcentre cuts staff as unemployment peaks

Blood and Property has been told that a number of members of staff at the Mare Street Jobcentre Plus in Hackney Central have not have their contracts renewed. That's as the number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants using Hackney job centres hits record highs.

Back in 2009 Derek Harvey, external relations manager for Job Centre Plus and a member of Team Hackney told Blood and Property that JCP was “gearing up to handle greater volumes” of JSA claimants.

In those days the combined number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants in Hackney North and South was 9,350 (May 2009) falling to 9,308 (June 2009).

The forecast was correct - the count in September 2011 was 11,208 - a rise of more than 20% since the new recruits were taken on.

But now the volumes are here, it looks like JCP is gearing down.

A DWP spokesperson told Blood and Property: "Jobcentre Plus recruited a large number of people on temporary contracts to deal with the recession. As the Government looks to grow the economy and reduce the deficit JCP is now reducing its overall staffing, this year through a combination of normal turnover and releasing some of the people who were recruited on Fixed Term Appointments (FTAs) as their contracts come to an end. Its priority is to ensure support for people in Hackney is maintained."


This post is going up before the ONS releases the latest unemployment figures for the UK which will show whether or not the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance has risen again Hackney.

If it has then Hackney will be maintaining its highest level of JSA claimants since the Financial Crisis

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Unemployment claims level - high number of women













The total number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Hackney fell for the first time since December but remained above 11,000 at 11,028.

Last month the figure was 11,043 and the proportion of the working population on the dole remains 7.3%.

As the chart shows most of the increases in claims over the last year have come from Hackney South where the level of unemployment is the highest in London and most of the UK - and where the proportion of unemployment among women is also higher than most at 6.6% of the population.

When the figures were released last week the Guardian said: 'Female's claiming Job Seeker's Allowance has risen month after month and is now at the highest level since August 1999. Looking at our detailed but not seasonally adjusted claimant count by constituency it shows that Birmingham Ladywood records the highest rate of female claimants at 6.8%. Hackney South and Shoreditch and Tottenham also have rates of over 6%.'

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Hackney is the only borough where men are losing jobs

The latest Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) statistics for Hackney show 171 new claimants in March bringing the number of JSA claimants in Hackney to 10,653.

That's 7.1% of the working population. Hackney is the London borough with the highest percentage of jobseekers allowance claimants, it is also the only London borough where more men are losing jobs than finding them.

118 men have been added to the JSA claimant count in Hackney over the last 12 months. All other boroughs have seen the amount of male claimants fall. The nearest to Hackney is the City of London which has seen the number of male claimants fall by 21.

However Hackney is much like other boroughs in that most of the people losing jobs and claiming JSA have been women.

Background

The borough's latest economic factsheet shows that the working population is 58% in managerial, professional, associate professional and technical occupations with just 8.5% employed as cleaners, security wardens, postal workers and couriers, hospitality workers and elementary sales.

Hackney's politicians have voiced a number of views on how dependent Hackney is on public sector jobs and the effect the cuts may have on the borough. The composition of the borough's working population may make it hard to predict what economic scenarios are good or bad for the level of unemployment in the borough.

HACKNEY BOROUGH
JSA CLAIMANT FIGURES:

2011
March 10,653 (7.1%) - (10,653/0.071=150,042) (+171)
February: 10,482 (6.9%) - (10,482/0.069=151,913) (+250)
- January: 10,232 (6.8%) - (10,232/0.068= 150,470) (+329)

2010
December : 9,903 (6.6%) - (9,903/0.066=150,049) (-92)
November: 9,995 (6.6%) - (9,995/0.066=151,439) (+8)
October: 9,987 (6.6%) - (9,987/0.066=151,318) (+60)
September: 9,927 (6.6%) - (9,927/0.066=150,409) (+136)
August: 9,791 (6.5%) - (9,791/0.065=150,630) (+325)
July: 9,466 (6.3%) - (9466/0.063= 150,253) (+60)
June : 9,406 (6.5%) (9,406/ 0.065 = 144,707) (-210)
May: 9,616 (6.7%) (9,616/.067=143,522) (-47)
April: 9,663 (6.7%) (9,663/.067=144,223) (-183)
March: 9,846 (6.8%) (9,846/0.068=144,794) (- 198)
February: 10,044 (7%) (10,044/0.07=143,485) (+139)
January: 9,905 (6.9%) (9,905/0.069= 143,550) (+162)

2009
December: 9,743 (6.7%) (9,743/0.067=145,417) (-52)
November: 9,795 (6.8%)
October: 9,827 (6.8%)
September: 9,884 (7%)
August 9,826 (6.9%) (+276)
July: 9550 (6.7%) (+242)
June: 9,308 (6.6%) ()
May: 9,377 (6.6%) (+379)
April: 8,998 (6.3%) (+373)
March: 8,625 (6.1%) (+ 471)
February: 8,154 (5.7%) (+ 804)
January: 7,350 (5.2%)

2008
December: 7,245 (5.1%)
November - 7,013 (4.9%)
October - 6,982 (4.9%)
September - 6,942 (4.9%)
August - 6,803 (4.8%)
July - 6,454 (4.6%)
June - 6,440 (4.6%)


HACKNEY NORTH
JSA CLAIMANT COUNT

2011
March - 5,006 (6.5%) - (5006/0.065=77,015) (+77)
Feb - 4,929 (6.4%) - (4,929/0.064=77,015) (+ 71)
Jan - 4, 858 (6.3%) - (4,858/0.063= 77,111) (+158)
2010
Dec - 4,700 (6.1%) - (4,700/0.061=77,049) (-94)
Nov - 4,794 (6.2%) - (4,794/0.062=77,323)(-5)
Oct - 4,801 (6.2%) - (4,801/0.062= 77,435)(+29)
Sept - 4,772 (6.2%) - (4,709/0.062=76,967) (+63)
August - 4,709 (6.1%) - (4,709/0.061= 77,197)(+171)
July - 4,572 (5.9%) - (4,572/0.059= 77,491)(+34)
June - 4,538 (6.0%) - (4,538/0.06= 75,633)(-99)
May - 4,637 (6.2%) - (4,637/0.062=74,790)(-90)
April - 4,727 (6.3%) - (4,727/0.063=75,031)(+391)
March - 4,336 (6.2%) - (4,336/0.062=69,935)(-114)
February - 4,450 (6.4%) - (4,450/0.064=69,531)(+48)
January - 4,402 (6.3%) - (4,402/0.063=69,873)

2009
December - 4331 (6.2%)
November - 4386 (6.3%)
October - 4365
September - 4,338
August - 4,331
July - 4206
June - 4,118
May - 4,081

HACKNEY SOUTH
JSA CLAIMANT COUNT

2011
March - 5,629 (8%) - (5629/0.08= 70,362) (+92)
February - 5,537 (7.8%) - (5,537/0.078=70,987) (+178)
January - 5,359 (7.6%) - (5,359/0.076= 70,513) (+172)

2010
Dec - 5,187 (7.3%) - (5,187/0.073= 71,054) (+4)
Nov - 5,183 (7.3%) - (5,183/0.0.73=71,000) (+19)
Oct - 5,164 (7.3%) - (5,164/0.073=70,739)(+24)
Sept - 5,140 (7.3%) - (5,140/0.073=70,410)(+84)
August - 5,056 (7.1%) - (5,056/0.071 = 71,211)(+185)
July - 4,871 (6.9%) - (4,871/0.069= 70,549)(+20)
June - 4,851 (7.0%) - (4,851/0.07= 69,300) (-108)
May - 4,959 (7.2%) - (4,959/0.072=68,875)
April - 4,908 (7.1%) - (4908/0.071=69,126)
March - 5,510 (7.6%) - (5,510/0.076=72,500)
February - 5,594 (7.7%) - (5,594/0.077=72,649)
January - 5503 (7.6%) - (5503/0.076)=72,407)

2009
December - 5,412 (7.5%)
November - 5,409 (7.5%)
October - 5,462
September - 5,546 (7.8%)
August - 5,495
July - 5,344
June - 5,190
May - 5,29

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Big spike in Hackney unemployment (JSA claimants)

The latest job seekers allowance statistics for Hackney show 329 new claimants signing on. The number of unemployed people (Job Seekers Allowance claimants - rather than 'workless' who are on longer term benefits) hit 10,232, the highest it has been since the financial crisis in 2008.

The last time the number of people claiming job seekers allowance broke 10,000 was in February 2010 and the last time the level of unemployment in Hackney rose at such a fast rate was between February and June 2009. Back then Hackney was hit with succession of monthly increases in unemployment.

Meanwhile the question remains how vulnerable will Hackney be to cuts?

Predictions that thousands of public sector jobs are likely to be lost - as many as a thousand in Hackney itself over the next four years - could drive increases if these people are Hackney residents.

However the demographics of the borough may protect it a little. The borough's latest economic factsheet shows that the working population is weighted toward managerial and professional jobs with 58% of Hackney’s population were employed in managerial, professional, associate professional and technical occupations.

At the other end of the distribution, 8.5% of Hackney’s employees are employed as cleaners, security wardens, postal workers and couriers, hospitality workers and elementary sales.

Hackney's politicians have voiced a number of views on how dependent Hackney is on public sector jobs and the effect the cuts may have on the borough. The composition of the borough's working population may make it hard to predict what economic scenarios are good or bad for the level of unemployment in the borough.

Will the number go up or down from here? Last months figures published by the Office of National Statistics showed that 92 fewer people were collecting the dole in Hackney in December 2010 with 9,903 claimants compared to 9,995 in November. That has more than reversed.

(While the actual number of unemployed people in Hackney has risen to a new high, this number, as a proportion of the working population, is not a record. It is 6.8% compared to 7% in September 2009 when there were 350 fewer JSA claimants. This, apparently, is due to boundary changes in Hackney North and South (the parliamentary constituencies) which took place in 2010. However, as far as I can remember, there were no changes to the boundaries of Hackney borough as a whole. So I'm not sure where this leap in the size of the population came from (There may be some explanation of for this here: statistical anomalies in Hackney. This month the combined total of new unemployed people in Hackney South and North is 330. Across the borough as a whole it is 329. The total number of JSA claimants in Hackney North and South is 10,217 while the figure for the borough as a whole is 10,232 - not exactly huge discrepancies but they could make it difficult to interpret what is going on.)

HACKNEY BOROUGH
JSA CLAIMANT FIGURES:

2011
January: 10,232 (6.8%) - (10,232/0.068= 150,470) (+329)

2010
December : 9,903 (6.6%) - (9,903/0.066=150,049) (-92)
November: 9,995 (6.6%) - (9,995/0.066=151,439) (+8)
October: 9,987 (6.6%) - (9,987/0.066=151,318) (+60)
September: 9,927 (6.6%) - (9,927/0.066=150,409) (+136)
August: 9,791 (6.5%) - (9,791/0.065=150,630) (+325)
July: 9,466 (6.3%) - (9466/0.063= 150,253) (+60)
June : 9,406 (6.5%) (9,406/ 0.065 = 144,707) (-210)
May: 9,616 (6.7%) (9,616/.067=143,522) (-47)
April: 9,663 (6.7%) (9,663/.067=144,223) (-183)
March: 9,846 (6.8%) (9,846/0.068=144,794) (- 198)
February: 10,044 (7%) (10,044/0.07=143,485) (+139)
January: 9,905 (6.9%) (9,905/0.069= 143,550) (+162)

2009
December: 9,743 (6.7%) (9,743/0.067=145,417) (-52)
November: 9,795 (6.8%)
October: 9,827 (6.8%)
September: 9,884 (7%)
August 9,826 (6.9%) (+276)
July: 9550 (6.7%) (+242)
June: 9,308 (6.6%) ()
May: 9,377 (6.6%) (+379)
April: 8,998 (6.3%) (+373)
March: 8,625 (6.1%) (+ 471)
February: 8,154 (5.7%) (+ 804)
January: 7,350 (5.2%)

2008
December: 7,245 (5.1%)
November - 7,013 (4.9%)
October - 6,982 (4.9%)
September - 6,942 (4.9%)
August - 6,803 (4.8%)
July - 6,454 (4.6%)
June - 6,440 (4.6%)


HACKNEY NORTH
JSA CLAIMANT COUNT

2011
Jan - 4, 858 (6.3%) - (4,858/0.063= 77,111) (+158)
2010
Dec - 4,700 (6.1%) - (4,700/0.061=77,049) (-94)
Nov - 4,794 (6.2%) - (4,794/0.062=77,323)(-5)
Oct - 4,801 (6.2%) - (4,801/0.062= 77,435)(+29)
Sept - 4,772 (6.2%) - (4,709/0.062=76,967) (+63)
August - 4,709 (6.1%) - (4,709/0.061= 77,197)(+171)
July - 4,572 (5.9%) - (4,572/0.059= 77,491)(+34)
June - 4,538 (6.0%) - (4,538/0.06= 75,633)(-99)
May - 4,637 (6.2%) - (4,637/0.062=74,790)(-90)
April - 4,727 (6.3%) - (4,727/0.063=75,031)(+391)
March - 4,336 (6.2%) - (4,336/0.062=69,935)(-114)
February - 4,450 (6.4%) - (4,450/0.064=69,531)(+48)
January - 4,402 (6.3%) - (4,402/0.063=69,873)

2009
December - 4331 (6.2%)
November - 4386 (6.3%)
October - 4365
September - 4,338
August - 4,331
July - 4206
June - 4,118
May - 4,081

HACKNEY SOUTH
JSA CLAIMANT COUNT

2011
January - 5,359 (7.6%) - (5,359/0.076= 70,513) (+172)

2010
Dec - 5,187 (7.3%) - (5,187/0.073= 71,054) (+4)
Nov - 5,183 (7.3%) - (5,183/0.0.73=71,000) (+19)
Oct - 5,164 (7.3%) - (5,164/0.073=70,739)(+24)
Sept - 5,140 (7.3%) - (5,140/0.073=70,410)(+84)
August - 5,056 (7.1%) - (5,056/0.071 = 71,211)(+185)
July - 4,871 (6.9%) - (4,871/0.069= 70,549)(+20)
June - 4,851 (7.0%) - (4,851/0.07= 69,300) (-108)
May - 4,959 (7.2%) - (4,959/0.072=68,875)
April - 4,908 (7.1%) - (4908/0.071=69,126)
March - 5,510 (7.6%) - (5,510/0.076=72,500)
February - 5,594 (7.7%) - (5,594/0.077=72,649)
January - 5503 (7.6%) - (5503/0.076)=72,407)

2009
December - 5,412 (7.5%)
November - 5,409 (7.5%)
October - 5,462
September - 5,546 (7.8%)
August - 5,495
July - 5,344
June - 5,190
May - 5,296

Monday, 21 June 2010

Hackney's 1600 'ghost' workers and 28 'ghost' claimants

When constituency boundary changes came into effect in April 2010 - before the General Election - the number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants rose by 391 in Hackney North. In Hackney South the number of JSA claimants fell by 602.

Together this meant that the number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance should have fallen by 211 across the borough as a whole.

+ 391
- 602
= - 211

But according to the Office of National Statistics figures, the net fall in JSA claimants in Hackney, over that period, was 183. (Figures from documents listed on this ONS web page)

This 183 figure matches the ONS's breakdown of male/female JSA claimant figures in the borough but not its Hackney North/Hackney South total. I don't know if this kind of discrepancy is normal - it didn't happen in the month prior to the boundary changes.

The change in constituency boundaries also seemed to generate an estimated 1630 new working-age people in Hackney North. This wouldn't have been surprising if they had previously existed in Hackney South. But the figures suggest that they didn't.

The boundary changes saw the Hackney South working population fall from 72,500 (average of three figures) to 69,000 (average of the two figures). So, across Hackney South, there appears to have been a decrease in working population of about 3500 (72,500-69,000=3500)

Meanwhile, the Hackney North population rose from 69,780 (average of three figures) to 74,910 (average of two figures) - meaning that the Hackney North population increased by 5130 (74910-69,780=5130)

So, the boundary change seems to have resulted in about 1630 previously non-existent workers appearing in the borough (5130-3500=1630) all of them in Hackney North.

The Boundary Commission changes (details below) were made because the number of voters in Hackney constituencies were considered too low to justify having two MPs.

Latest Hackney JSA claimant count:

2010: working population extrapolated from figures in red.
May: 9,616 (6.7%) (9,616/.067=143,522)- next is Tower Hamlets with 6.6%
April: 9,663 (6.7%) (9,663/.067=144,223) - next is Tower Hamlets with 6.5%
March: 9,846 (6.8%) (9,846/0.68=144,794) - next is Tower Hamlets with 6.6%
February: 10,044 (7%) - next highest is Tower Hamlets with 6.7%
January: 9,905 (6.9%) - next highest is Tower Hamlets at 6.6%
2009
December: 9743 (6.7%) - next highest was Tower Hamlets at 6.5%
November: 9,795 (6.8%) - next highest was Tower Hamlets at 6.7%
October: 9,827 (6.8%) - equal highest with Tower Hamlets.
September: 9,884 (7%)
August 9,826 (6.9%)
July: 9550 (6.7%)

Divided into constituencies: - Diane Abbott (North) and Meg Hillier (South) -

Hackney North
May - 4,081
June - 4,118
July - 4206
August - 4,331
September - 4,338
October - 4365
November - 4386 (6.3%)
December - 4331 (6.2%)
January - 4,402 (6.3%) - (4,402/0.063=69,873)
February - 4,450 (6.4%) - (4,450/0.064=69,531)
March - 4,336 (6.2%) - (4,336/0.062=69,935)
April - 4,727 (6.3%) - (4,727/0.063=75,031)
May - 4,637 (6.2%) - (4,637/0.062=74,790)


Hackney South
May - 5,296
June - 5,190
July - 5,344
August - 5,495
September - 5,546 (7.8%)
October - 5,462
November - 5,409 (7.5%)
December - 5,412 (7.5%)
January - 5503 (7.6%) - (5503/0.076)=72,407)
February - 5,594 (7.7%) - (5,594/0.077=72,649)
March - 5,510 (7.6%) - (5,510/0.076=72,500)
April - 4,908 (7.1%) - (4908/0.071=69,126)
May - 4,959 (7.2%) - (4,959/0.072=68,875)


Background from Boundary Commission Report: "3.12 The constituency with the lowest 2000 electorate in London will be Hackney South and Shoreditch BC with 57,204 electors: this will be the second lowest electorate in England after that of Wirral West BC. This constituency electorate is 12,731 below the electorate quota, but only 2,991 below the Hackney borough average of 60,195. Although the borough average is within 260 electors of the 10,000 threshold, we nevertheless considered pairing Hackney with a neighbouring borough. However, we concluded that there was no suitable partner that was not already paired with another borough or one that met our criteria for pairing.

25. In relation to the second counter-proposal as it affected Hackney, the Assistant
Commissioner reported that, from the evidence gained at the inquiry and as a result of his own observations on site visits, the Dalston ward was more closely associated with Stoke Newington and the northern constituency in terms of local community and transport links, and that the King’s Park ward was more closely associated with Hackney South and Shoreditch BC. He stated that, were it simply the question of the King’s Park ward, he would have been less persuaded to recommend a departure from the provisional recommendations.However, the close association of Dalston with Stoke Newington appeared to him to be compelling. For these reasons, he recommended that the changes put forward in the second counter-proposal in relation to Hackney should be adopted and that there should be no change to our provisionally recommended constituencies in Islington.

29. We agreed with the Assistant Commissioner that there was no need to group Hackney,
Islington, and Tower Hamlets. We also agreed with his recommendation that the Hackney
Borough ward of Dalston should be included in Hackney North and Stoke Newington BC, the Hackney Borough ward of King’s Park ward should be included in Hackney South and
Shoreditch BC and the Newham Borough ward of Canning Town South should be included in
West Ham BC.

Recommendation

32. We therefore recommend the adoption of the following eight constituencies in Hackney, Islington, Newham, and Tower Hamlets containing the wards listed in Appendix C:-

2000 electorate

Hackney North and Stoke Newington BC 63,185
Hackney South and Shoreditch BC 57,204
120,389

Friday, 17 July 2009

Unemployed in Hackney - the lull before the storm

I was made redundant in June and signed on at the Jobcentre Plus on Mare Street last week. It was not an unpleasant experience.

The only disconcerting thing about it was that the unemployed seemed to be outnumbered by Jobcentre staff. There was a friendly gang to usher me in and two members of staff sitting behind every desk.

The silent observant ones, I was told, were the new recruits getting their training. There seemed to be a lot them.

As luck would have it, Derek Harvey, External Relations Manager for Jobcentre Plus across East London, was at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting on Thursday (16 July) and I asked him why there were so many new staff at the Jobcentre Plus.

Yes, a daft question, but I thought there was a chance that there might be a happy answer as Derek had just delivered the only real good news to the O&S board – that Hackney’s job seekers allowance (JSA) claimant count had fallen for the first time since September.

(Office of National Statistics Regional Monthly Data - July 2009 show the number of claimants has dropped across the borough from 9350 in May to 9308 in June. The biggest fall is in Hackney South and Shoreditch down from 5296 in May to 5190 in June. The figures were still on the rise in Hackney North, up from 4,081 in May to 4,118 in June. It sounded vaguely optimisic – it was presented as vaguely optimistic.)

So when Derek left the meeting I ran after him to ask if he really thought the news was good and, if so, why Jobcentre Plus had so many new faces. All he could say was that Jobcentre Plus was “gearing up to handle greater volumes” and that I should ask Jobcentre Plus’s press office for details of recruitment in Hackney.

Unfortunately the Jobcentre press office couldn’t provide those figures. Considering the borough’s claimant count fell by just 42 in June, it might have been interesting to see if Jobcentre recruitment helped keep the numbers down (although the new people might well not be from Hackney).

The national figures are pretty interesting though – apologies if everyone knows them already. In November last year Jobcentre Plus was given cash to recruit 6000 new staff and in April it was given cash to recruit another 10,000 - that’s 16,000 jobs.

So far, since the November 2008 cash injection, Jobcentre Plus has employed 9,000 new staff leaving room for another 7,000.

The press officer I spoke to said that, so far, there had been no problems with providing a decent service and that the time it was taking to process claims was within targets.

It seemed fair to ask how bad things might get. But I was told that no one at the Department of Work and Pensions was into the forecasting game – apparently it's none of their business, not even a guess was allowed. We both became a little embarrassed when I kept asking how the government had come up with this 16,000 figure for new staff.

I was too thick to see that there are other ways of doing this - it had something to do with the state of the economy, not how many people might lose their jobs.

Luckily a few economists have had a go at this forecasting lark and none of them were optimistic.

For Hackney though, the hope is that the new Jobcentre recruits will be twiddling their thumbs til I drop in again on Wednesday.

Will Hackney return to 17% unemployment?

Hackney had the biggest rises in employment – should we expect the biggest falls? Socialist candidate says yes.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Will Hackney return to 17% on the dole?

In December 2007 there were 2,514 people claiming job seekers allowance in Hackney South and Shoreditch. By last month, May 2009, this had increased to 5,296 people.

In December 2007, the 2,514 people claiming JSA represented 4.7% of Hackney South’s working population. The 5,296 people now making the claims represents 7.4 per cent of the working population in Hackney South and Shoreditch.

To check the figures here's a link to the Office of National Statistics webpage on regional JSA claimants.

There is no sign that this trend is weakening and considering that this recession has been described as most extreme in several decades, is there a possibility that JSA claimant levels could exceed the 17% of working population seen in the 1990s?

The last detailed report on the borough’s economic situation was published in 2007 (Word  (doc) Document Hackney's Economy EDP Paper 2007 ) at a time when the level of claimants was falling faster than the national average.

The report said: “Since the early 1990s unemployment claimants have fallen from over 17% of the economically active population to below 6% in 2006. This has been consistent with the economic trends witnessed in London and England and Wales, although the decline has been steeper in Hackney.”

This now appears to be in the process of a sharp U-turn. Earlier this month the Office of National Statistics released the May figures for people claiming Job Seekers Allowance. In Hackney South 7.4% working population is now on the dole, up from 7.1% in April and 6.8% in March, 6.4% in February and 5.8% in January 2009. In December 2007, the level of JSA claimants was 4.7% of the working population.

The TeamHackney report also outlined the challenges facing the borough.

The biggest of these, and one which still dwarfs the levels of claimants in the borough, is the issue of 'worklessness'. There are more recent figures but this document on the borough's worklessness policy(Word  (doc) Document Team Hackney Worklessness Model) provides this outline: "Hackney’s employment rate is currently 55.7%, which is almost 13% lower than the London average. With nearly 63,000 people of working age residents either unemployed or economically inactive, Hackney’s worklessness challenge is huge. Indeed, for Hackney to improve its employment rate to that of the wider London economy, a further 18,000 residents need to move into sustainable employment."

This is where the council's attention has been focused for the last few years - on the people in the borough who aren't looking for work.

In contrast to TeamHackney's concern about worklessness, the view on Job Seekers Allowance claimants suggested that high levels of claimants didn't mean that there weren't any jobs: "The raw data on claimant unemployment masks what appears to be quite considerable amount of churn within the labour market. Between March 2003 and February 2006, over 10,400 people have left the claimant register as a result of finding employment and a further 6,500 have moved into accredited training or education. This suggests that Jobcentre Plus and other employment initiatives in the borough (such as Working Links with 2,289 job outputs in 2004-6) are relatively successful at finding employment or appropriate training.

"However, given the relative stability of the total number of claimants it would suggest that many people are entering into short term or unstable employment and soon return to the unemployment register. This is supported by recent research undertaken by Jobcentre plus. A random sample of 730 clients claiming JSA benefits confirmed that overall 64% of the sample had claimed JSA benefits at least twice during the analysis period of one year."

This was the view when claimant levels were falling and the biggest issue was the number of people who did not want to work. Now people who do want to work are losing their jobs and not finding new ones.

Some related issues:

There is evidence that the level of entrepreneurship in the borough is declining: Hackney's entrepreneurs are disappearing.

Diane Abbot, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, and others are also concerned that Hackney residents are not benefiting from employment opportunities that were expected to come with the Olympics: details and links can be found in this blog: Election fraud epidemic: More to come.

With some misfires: Diane Abbott's muddled crusade for the unemployed

Last week the Evening Standard singled-out Hackney South and Shoreditch in story about rising levels of unemployment pointing out that more than 10% of men in the constituency are unemployed.

A number of candidates for the European Elections answered questions about Hackney's economy in the three previous blogs:

Candidate 8: Labour promotes ghettoisation
Candidate 3: EU won't allow Hackney workers to be undercut

The Socialist Party of Great Britain candidate said that areas that had seen rapid increases in employment levels in the good times would be see equally rapid losses when things get bad.