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LETTER: Ways of counting the unemployed

From Mr Tim Holt

Sir: Diane Coyle's report ("CSO rethink on jobless count could add 100,000 to total", 25 September) is wrong in suggesting that the Central Statistical Office has decided to introduce monthly publication of unemployment estimates based on the International Labour Organisation definition used in the labour force survey (LFS). No decision has been taken.

The CSO has commissioned a task force to study the options for monthly publication, but the outcome will depend both upon the study's findings and upon subsequent consultation with data users.

In any event, the CSO will continue to publish the monthly measure of unemployment derived from the count of people claiming unemployment-related benefits.

No single measure of unemployment is ideal for all conceivable uses, and both the claimant count and the LFS measure have advantages and disadvantages.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Holt

Director, and Head of the

Government Statistical Service

Central Statistical Office

London, SW1

25 September