Historical analysis of claimant count reveals political party differences

Analysis of the number of people claiming unemployment benefit over the last 40 years has shown that the claimant count averaged 1.048 million under Labour governments and 2.160 million under Conservative governments.

Research has examined the average unemployment benefit claimant count over 40 years
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Research has examined the average unemployment benefit claimant count over 40 years
We can see a marked difference in outcomes with regard to unemployment.

Dr Bruce Philp, Head of the Work and Employment Research Group

Analysis of the number of people claiming unemployment benefit over the last 40 years has shown that the claimant count averaged 1.048 million under Labour governments and 2.160 million under Conservative governments.

Preliminary research by the Work and Employment Research Group at Nottingham Business School has tracked the relative performance of Conservative and Labour governments, between 1974-2014, and found significant differences.

Using quarterly seasonally adjusted "claimant count" data taken from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the analysis calculated the differences between the claimant count, and claimant count rate, with Labour and Conservatives in power. The claimant count rate in the period in question averaged 3.45% under Labour governments, whereas it averaged 7.29% when the Conservatives were in power.

Head of the Work and Employment Research Group, Dr Bruce Philp, said: "In the last four decades there have been a succession of governments which have sought to target unemployment alongside other macroeconomic policy objectives, not least the current Government with recent speeches by the Prime Minister and Chancellor both emphasising full employment as an aspiration.

"If we investigate the relative performance of Labour and Conservative administrations we can see a marked difference in outcomes with regard to unemployment in their respective periods of office.

"Some of these differences may be attributed to the global economic environment in the respective periods, for example the oil crises of the 1970s and the global financial crisis from 2008. However, the marked differences in government policy outcomes under Labour and Conservative governments, in the period in question, cannot be dismissed entirely with reference to the relative international business environments."

Historical analysis of claimant count reveals political party differences

Published on 10 October 2014
  • Category: Press office; Research; Nottingham Business School

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