Universal Credit claims continue to surge – but the curve appears to be flattening

Commenting on reports today (Thursday) that 250,000 people have made a Universal Credit (UC) claim in the past week – half the 475,000 a week average over the previous fortnight, but still three times the 82,000 a week average recorded for Jobseeker’s Allowance at the peak during the financial crisis, Karl Handscomb, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“The latest reported figures suggest that over 1.2 million people have made a Universal Credit claim since the Government lockdown just three weeks ago.

“These are huge numbers but there is some good news that the UK’s jobless curve may be starting to flatten. The number of new UC claims in the past week is only half as large as the initial surge.

“But this offers no grounds at all for complacency. This slowdown is from unprecedented highs, while the 250,000 claims made in the past seven days is still three times more than at the height of the financial crisis.

“The big picture is that the UK is seeing an unprecedented number of people ceasing to work. These awful Universal Credit figures would actually be far, far worse were it not for many millions of workers flowing into the job retention scheme.

“To allow full analysis of these huge economic trends it’s time the publication of these figures moved onto a regular and much more detailed basis, rather than irregular briefings.”