Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2/7/2014: Live Register: June 2014

Live Register figures for June 2014 are out today, so here are some updates.

Seasonally un-adjusted LR stood at 398,813 in June 2014, which is down 8.39% y/y down 36,544. In May 2014 the LR was down 7.81% y/y so June marks an improvement in the rate of Live Register declines.

Factoring in participants in State Training Programmes, total number of individuals in receipt of Live Register supports in June 2014 was 473,700 which is 5.68% lower (28,521) than in June 2013. The rate of decline in total Live Register Recipients numbers moderated in June, since in May 2014 it fell 6.98% y/y.

Chart to illustrate:

June marked the slowest rate of LR declines (when factoring in State Training Programmes participants) since February 2014. However, since December 2013, the annual rates of decline in LR+STP numbers have run above 5%, every month, against average 2.57% declines in January-November 2013.

On the other hand, official LR declines hit record in June, dropping 8.39% y/y, the steepest rate of annual decline since the crisis began.

All of the above are positives, but subject to two caveats:

  1. We do not know how much of the LR reduction is down to emigration
  2. We do not know how much of it is down to exits from the labour force.
Data for labour force itself comes with a quarterly lag, so all we have to go by currently is Q1 2014 figure, when the labour force rose to 2,146,300 compared to 2,137,500 in Q1 2013 - an increase y/y of 8,800. Rising net labour force could have come from younger workers coming into the LF for the first time (some of them are not finding jobs, some are) and it can mean that older workers who exited the LF are coming back. We do not know net drivers for the 8,800 increase, so we cannot speculate as to what effect on LR this has had.

What we do, however, know (with 1 quarter lag, again) is that LR recipients as share of labour force is still trending above 2008-present average and although it is coming down, the proportion remains stuck above 20%. 

2008-present average for LR+STP as % of labour force is 21.1%, current June 2014 reading is at 22.1% (assuming labour force for Q1 2014), and March 2014 reading was 22.0% - very close to June (March figure is based on Q1 2014 data, so it is more likely to be correct). In June 2013 this proportion was 23.1% and in March 2013 it was 23.9%, which means we have some improvement. However, we are still far from 1998-2007 average of 9.5%.

So the good news is: LR is down. Better news is: much of the decrease is not due to State Training Programmes. Bad news: there is still a lot of road left to travel before we get anywhere near normal levels of LR and the progress is not rapid.

Government 2011-present scorecard on LR - in the next post.
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