Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Economics 29/9/10: Live Register

Live Register figures are out for September with the latest CSO numbers showing both an improvement and a deterioration in the labour market. Here are the details.

"On a seasonally adjusted basis there was a monthly decrease of 5,400 in the Live Register in September 2010. The number of persons on the Live Register now stands at 442,417 which represents an annual increase of 22,563 (+5.4%) in the unadjusted series. This compares with an increase of 30,198 (+6.9%) in the year to August 2010."

It is worth noting that the latest decline in the LR is not a "new event", in so far as there have been other events of declining LR (mom in seasonally adjusted series). It will require more than 1 month move down to establish any sort of confidence about the underlying trends reversals:

In terms of weekly and monthly changes, the latest results are certainly welcome:
But the underlying causes of the decline in LR are certainly continuing to point to further pressures in the job market. Per CSO (comments and emphasis are mine):
"In September there were 39,960 new registrants on the Live Register, which compares with 36,194 in the previous month [new registrants to LR rose significantly month on month in September, implying clearly that decline in overall LR was not driven by improvement in the labour market, but by exits from LR by workers who run out of benefits].

"New registrants consisted of 16,952 JB claims (42.4%), 21,276 JA applications (53.2%) and 1,732 other registrants (4.3%). It should be noted that the number of new registrants is not the same as the overall change in the number of people on the Live Register which is affected by
closed claims and the movement of people between schemes. [It is also worth noting that training schemes increases imply reduced LR, but hardly lead to actual jobs gains]

"On average 9,990 new registrants joined the Live Register each week in September, comprising 5,905 males (59.1%) and 4,085 (40.9%) females. By comparison, in March 2010 9,935 new registrants joined the Live Register each week, consisting of 6,340 males (63.8%) and 3,595 (36.2%) females."

These trends - reflecting in my view exits from LR, rather than new jobs gains - is reinforced by the data that in September there was a monthly decrease of 2,412 (-3.1%) in the number of non-Nationals on LR, which suggest strong outflow of workers due to net emigration.

Implied unempoloyment rate now stands at 13.7%, down from 13.8% in August.
This means I will not be changing my forecast for Q3 unemployment to reach 13.9%.
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