As unemployment nationally rises to 2.47 million people the effects of the small dip in Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claims in Wandsworth has been more than lost with subsequent rises.

In August there were 6,716 people claiming JSA in Wandsworth, an increase of 219 (or 3.4%) on the previous month and up 2,754 (or 69.5%) on August 2008. The graph shows a fairly consistent rise over the past year.

Wandsworth JSA claims, Aug 08 - Aug 09

I often point out that JSA and unemployment are not interchangeable. While everyone claiming JSA will be unemployed, it does not follow that everyone who is unemployed will claim JSA. To highlight the point nationally unemployment is 2.47 million, but JSA claims only 1.61 million – effectively there are 860,000 people choosing – for whatever reason – not to sign on.

It is difficult to make a similar comparison for Wandsworth, since the figures are not collected in the same way, instead unemployment for the whole year is calculated. However, to give an indication, unemployment for January to December 2008 (the most recent available) in Wandsworth is calculated at 9,600. The average of all the JSA claims for those 12 months was 3,939 – implying a significant proportion of Wandsworth residents were choosing not to register at their local job centre.

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