Unemployment is an important indicator of the state of the economy. There are several measures which can be used to show levels of unemployment and economic inactivity:
Claimant count – This shows the number of people who are out of work and claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and is often expressed as a rate. Data is published monthly.
Unemployment rate – Often called the ILO unemployment rate, this measure assesses the number of jobless people who want to work, are available to work and are actively seeking employment. This measure is usually higher than the claimant rate as not all people looking for work are either eligible or choose to claim JSA. Data is published quarterly.
Economic inactivity – This is a broader measure of people who are economically inactive for a range of reasons, including students, people who are unable to work due to illness, retired people and those looking after family/ home. Data is published quarterly.
In August 2017, 0.3% of people in Somerset aged 16-64 were claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). South Somerset has the highest claimant rate in Somerset (0.4%). Mendip had the lowest claimant count (0.1%). Claimant rates have dropped in all five districts, with Taunton Deane having the largest fall in claimants over the year (0.6%)
Somerset has a consistently lower claimant rate than the UK and Heart of the South West LEP area.
Somerset’s claimants fell by 0.4% whereas the national average fell by 0.1%
ILO unemployment in Somerset stood at 3.8% in March 2017, lower than the Heart of the South West LEP area (4.6%) and the UK as a whole (4.9%). Somerset’s unemployment rate has fallen over the last year (0.1%). Available data shows Mendip has the highest unemployment rate of all the districts (5.2%).
Somerset’s unemployment rate is consistently lower than the national level. After peaking at 8% in December 2010, the general trend has been downwards. Over the same period, the UK unemployment rate remained constant, with declining trend from September 2013.
Somerset’s economic inactivity rate is lower than nationally. Sedgemoor has the highest proportion of economically inactive residents (22.6%). West Somerset has the lowest economic inactivity rate (16.6%). Mendip has the highest proportion of economically inactive persons who want a job (41.7%) closely followed by West Somerset (41.5%) and Taunton Deane (41.3%). South Somerset has the lowest rate of economically inactive who want a job (23.2%).
There has been a big increase since 2001 in the number of residents with a Level 4 (e.g., Bachelor degree) or above qualification. There are now more people qualified to at least Level 4 (25.6%) than people with no qualifications (22.4%). - 2011 Census