The claimant count
Until recently, the main measure of unemployment officially used in the UK was the monthly claimant count. This is a by-product of the administrative system for paying unemployment-related benefits - the main benefit currently being the Job-seeker's Allowance.
Many economists believe that the claimant count provides an inaccurate measure of true unemployment. Free-market economists in particular argue that the claimant count overstates unemployment because many claimants are either (a) not genuinely looking for work, or (b) not genuinely unemployed because they work in undeclared jobs in the underground or informal economy.
In other respects, however, the claimant count understates true unemployment. The toughening up of eligibility requirements or tests for the availability for work in the 1980s and early 1990s reduced the claimant count without reducing unemployment. Various groups of unemployed, such as young workers on government training schemes and unemployed workers approaching retirement (who were reclassified as 'early retired'), have also been removed from the register even though some of them would like full-time jobs.
The Labour Force Survey
The UK government now recognises a second measure…