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Volume 491: debated on Thursday 30 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of (a) employment vacancies and (b) persons claiming jobseeker’s allowance in each parliamentary constituency. (260120)

The information has been placed in the Library, and provides separate data for unfilled and notified vacancies to give the fullest picture of the number of Jobcentre Plus vacancies in any particular constituency. The labour market is dynamic and many new vacancies are filled so quickly they do not appear in the statistics for live unfilled vacancies, which are based on a snapshot of the vacancies available on a particular day.

The coverage of these figures relates only to Jobcentre Plus notified and unfilled vacancies. Many vacancies come up through other recruitment channels and the proportion accounted for by Jobcentre Plus is likely to vary over time, according to the occupation of the vacancy and industry of the employer, and by local area. Estimates of the number of unfilled job vacancies across the economy as a whole are available from the monthly ONS Vacancy Survey, based on a sample of some 6,000 enterprises. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only.

In addition, it should be noted that parliamentary constituencies are often a poor match to the area covered by the local labour market. The number and range of jobs available to people within normal travel to work distances often extends well beyond immediate constituency boundaries. For this reason Government statisticians believe that this data should not be used to make assumptions about the availability of vacancies to people living in these constituencies.