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This note is a short overview of key statistics on Blackpool's Labour Market. It is made to prompt initial discussion on the evidence available in this area. It is part of a larger project to assess employment in Blackpool and the wider Fylde Coast area which will expand on this initial snapshot.

Facts and Figures

Overall Labour Market Supply

Supply in the labour market is defined as the availability of people and skills that can fill the roles demanded by employers.


    • The employment rate in Blackpool is 65.4% - made up of those currently working or self-employed. This is lower proportionally than both the North West (69.8%) and England (72.9%)
    • Unemployment - essentially those actively seeking employment but currently not in a job - is around 8% in Blackpool. This is higher than England (5.9%) and North West (6.4%)
    • Economic inactivity refers to those who are not available for work, or who do not want to work. Blackpool, at (29.6%) has a higher proportion of economically inactive individuals than England (22.4%) and the North West (25.3%)
    • Long Term Sick accounts for 36% of all economically inactive in Blackpool. This is a substantially higher proportion than those economically inactive in both England and the North West

Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit

The main benefit available for those who were unemployed but able and available for work was Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) up to November 2014. Universal Credit started to replace a number of benefits including JSA from this date. Statistics on Universal Credit UC) are only recently being made available and detailed breakdowns of the elements within awards are not yet available though employment status is. The chart below shows JSA claims (and unemployed UC claims from November 14) and a seasonally adjusted trend.

Source: NOMIS
    • In Blackpool, the 2008 recession sharply increased unemployment and there was a further increase in 2011-12 which is in part due to austerity measures taking effect on the public sector employment. From a mid-2012 peak of over 6000 claimants, JSA claims have reduced sharply and have nearly returned to pre-recession levels.
    • There are currently 2,181 legacy JSA claimants and 1,150 universal credit claimants not in employment.

Looking at the duration (Figure 1) and age (Figure 2) of claimants, there has been a recent shift with a higher proportion of claimants with longer unemployment periods of over 1 year and a small increase in claimants aged between 50 and 64.

Figure 1 - JSA Claim Duration

Source: NOMIS

Figure 2 - Age of JSA Claimants

Source: NOMIS

Employment Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefits

Employment and Support Allowance replaced Incapacity Benefit in 2008. Both benefits are provided for those who are unemployed due to incapacity or disability. ESA introduced different approaches to support however and an emphasis towards what tasks a claimant is capable of performing.

    • There are 850 legacy claimants of incapacity benefit and 10,420 employment and support allowance claimants in Blackpool
    • 13% of Blackpool's working-age population claim ESA or IB, compared to 8% for the North West Region, and 6% for England (Figure 3)
    • In Blackpool, the introduction of ESA made little difference to the overall level of benefit claims for disability related unemployment. While both the North West and England have seen a decrease this trend began prior to ESA introduction
    • 57% of ESA claimants are male and 43% female - broadly similar to the regional and national proportion

Figure 3 - Claimants of disability related unemployment benefit ESA and IB/SDA

Source: NOMIS

Figure 4 demonstrates the reasons for ESA claims from the Blackpool population. The majority of claims for ESA fall into the International Classification for Disease category of mental and behavioural disorders, which is a very wide spectrum covering disorders such as schizophrenia and personality disorder but also drug use, dementia and learning difficulties.

The group 'symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical findings' is also a high percentage and generally refers to groups who have not yet received a diagnosis.

Figure 4 - Reason for Claim

Source: NOMIS

Lone Parents

Lone parents are amongst those vulnerable groups at greatest risk of unemployment due to the demands of balancing working and home life, especially with younger children. Two thirds of all children in poverty are from lone parent families.

    • From 1999 the proportion of Blackpool residents claiming income support as lone parents reduced from 3.5% to around 1.8% in 2014. There are approximately 1550 lone parent income support claimants living in Blackpool.
    • One reason for these changes is likely the introduction of changes to income support in 2007 reducing the maximum length of claim to a youngest child's 5th birthday.

Figure 5 - Lone Parent Claimants (income support element)

Source: NOMIS

Examining income support claimants does not paint a full picture of the number of lone parents in Blackpool. Data from the 2001 Census highlights the status of lone parents by economic activity. It highlights the majority of inactive lone parents are looking after their home and family or sick/disabled and unable to work. There were 681 unemployed lone parents in Blackpool - actively seeking work in 2001.

Figure 6 - Lone parent family

Source: Census 2001