It does seem that the total claims have hit something of a plateau, something that becomes even more apparent if you look at the numbers of claims for the duration of the recession.
And it’s very difficult to guess what will happen next. There has long been speculation about a jobless recovery (in which businesses do not replace jobs that were lost during the recession) or a double dip recovery – neither of which bode well for the figures.
However, these threats have to be balanced by government plans to tackle unemployment which (and politically I would say this) I hope are likely to be more effective than the previous governments. To me, the recent announcement that to look at ways of helping people move to areas with more work (it’s the reason I left my home town to move to London) rather than forcing them to stay in an area of unemployment because they live in social housing. Other announcements – which I’ve yet to see condemned by the opposition – of creating a single welfare to work programme and funding providers on outcomes (like getting people into work) rather than the outputs (how many people they see) will hopefully start the transition from JSA and incapacity benefit being a transitional support while people get back in to the workplace rather than the permanent benefit they have become for all too many people.