Claimant Count: Experimental Office for National Statistics: Since June 2015 the Claimant Count has been designated as experimental statistics and has included out of work Universal Credit claimants as well as Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants.  These data are not an official measure of local unemployment and further information is available in the ‘Notes’ section below.  Rates are calculated using the relevant ONS population estimates for that age group.

Interactive Maps

Sub-county data can be viewed using these web maps:

Key Messages:
    • The claimant count rate in County Durham, for the 16 to 64 population, was 5.7% in May 2021, down from last month (6%) but still higher than the March 2020 figure (4%).
      • There are currently 18,835 people aged 16 to 64 claiming these benefits in County Durham.
      • This is lower than the national rate of 6%, and below the North East rate of 6.7%.
      • County Durham currently has the second lowest rate in the region with Middlesbrough highest at 9.8% and Northumberland lowest at 5.3%.


    • The claimant count rate in County Durham, for young people (aged 18 to 24), was 8% in May 2021, down from the previous month (8.4%) but is still higher than that recorded in March 2020 (6.1%).
      • There are currently 3,970 young people claiming these benefits in County Durham.
      • This was lower than the national rate of 8.4% and the North East rate of 9.4%.
      • County Durham currently has the second lowest rate in the region with South Tyneside the highest at 13.4% and Newcastle-upon-Tyne lowest at 5.1%.

Further economic data on County Durham is available on the following pages:

The following sections provide more detail on these datasets.

County Durham and Regional Authorities

Between December 2019 and March 2020, the overall claimant count in County Durham remained relatively stable at around the 3.9% level and on average, 1 percentage points higher than the national average.  However, the recent consequences of the COVID19 pandemic and the resulting lock-down measures that have been required, saw the claimant count rate rise rapidly from 4% in March 2020 to 6.5% in in the summer of 2020.  This has now fallen slightly to 5.7% in the latest release.  Currently there are an estimated 18,835 people, aged 16 to 64, claiming these benefits in County Durham.

Similar increases can be seen in the number of younger people now claiming these benefits with an increase from 6.1% in March 2020 to 9.7% in September 2021.  This has now fallen to 8% in the latest release. there an estimated 3,970 young people currently claiming these benefits in County Durham.

The following ‘Infogram’ provides further detail on this dataset and to share this ‘infogram’ please use this link:


Claimant Count by Local Geography

The claimant count dataset is available for small areas, down to the Census Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) geography.  This means it is possible to provide aggregated counts and estimates for other sub-county areas.

The following ‘infogram’ provides details the the following sub-county areas:

    • Electoral Wards
    • Area Action Partnerships (AAPs)
    • Local plan Monitoring Areas LPMAs)

Further information on these sub-county areas is available on our Geography Descriptions page.  To share the ‘infogram’ below please use the following link:


Claimant Count:

This measures the number of people claiming benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed:

    • from April 2015, the Claimant Count includes all Universal Credit claimants who are required to seek work and be available for work, as well as all JSA claimants
The Claimant Count does not meet the internationally agreed definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).  Estimates of unemployment are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, Annual Population Survey and modelled estimates which make use of the Annual Population Survey.
The Claimant Count includes people who claim unemployment-related benefits but who do not receive payment.  For example, some claimants will have had their benefits stopped for a limited period of time by Jobcentre Plus.  Some people claim JSA in order to receive National Insurance Credits.
Under Universal Credit it is expected that a broader span of claimants will claim benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed and therefore be included within the Claimant Count.  This means that, with the roll-out of Universal Credit, the level of the Claimant Count series is likely to be higher than it would have been otherwise, even if labour market conditions remain unchanged.
Rates are calculated using the latest ONS population estimates for the relevant age groups.
The dataset is available for a range of local areas and this report includes summaries for:
    • County Durham,
    • North East Local Authorities
    • Electoral Wards
    • Area Action partnerships (AAPs)
    • Local Plan Monitoring Areas (LPMAs)