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Annie Hayes



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Unemployment and employment rates soar


The latest jobless figures reveal the paradoxical nature of the UK labour market – with employment levels standing at record levels and unemployment at a six-year high.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) showed:

  • The number of people in work stands at 28.94 million – up 240,000 this year.

  • The number on Jobseekers’ Allowance is up by 2,000 in the month to 957,000.

  • ILO unemployment – the number of people looking for work, whether or not they are on benefits – has also risen, by 243,000 on the year to 1.68 million.

The DWP says the reason why employment and ILO unemployment are both up is because of a growing population and a fall in the number of people who are not looking for work – the economically inactive, which is down 108,000 to its lowest rate for 14 years.

But the minister for employment and welfare reform Jim Murphy pointed out that the figures coincided with the 20th anniversary of the UK’s highest rate of post-war unemployment – when the jobless figure stood at 3 million.

“Twenty years ago claimant unemployment hit a post-war high,” he said. “Since then employment is up by 4 million to a new record and claimant unemployment is down from over 3 million to less than 1 million.

“There are now fewer claimant unemployed in total than there were long-term unemployed 20 years ago, and youth long-term claimant unemployment is a thing of the past.”

But TUC deputy general secretary Frances O’Grady warned against complacency, saying: “More people may be in work than ever before, but rising unemployment and further job losses in manufacturing continue to cause concern.

“If UK manufacturing is to turn its fortunes around, long term measures are essential to protect the sector. More importantly, when the Bank of England meets next month, it must resist the temptation to increase interest rates.”

One Response

  1. Paradox wot Paradox?
    There is no paradox here, the population growth is outstripping the growth in the number of jobs available – both are getting larger but the number of “workers” is growing faster than the number of jobs.

    Our Governments’ decision not to use the powers available to restrict the movement of workers from the new EC members resulted in 600,000 workers from Poland moving to the UK – but economic growth can’t create another 600,000 jobs in addition to those we need for our school / college leavers so unemployment rises despite a growth in the number of jobs. Add in age legislation which means more people will work past the “normal” retirement age and we start to need an economic miracle to create enough jobs for all those who need one.

    Of course the Government has solved long term youth unemployment – not by creating jobs though – they simply keep our school leavers in education so they don’t appear in the jobless figures. Perhaps that’s why we need so many young Polish / other new EC member workers – to do the jobs our young people are too well educated to want to do!

    If we adjust the unemployment figures to take account of the changes designed to “hide” the real number of people of working age who are not employed – starting with the increase in the number of college / university students compared to 20 years ago then adding all of the people who no longer qualify for unemployment benefit due to changes in regulations designed to move them onto alternative means tested benefits after 6 months and the redefining of full time employment as 16 hours a week to take those who manage to get some part time work out of the unemployment statistics – have we really made any impact on the 3 million unemployed of 20 years ago?

    Even the number of people in work figures are difficult to compare – 20 years ago a large proportion of jobs were full time, today far more are part time but splitting a full time post into 2 or 3 part time posts doesn’t actually create work – it simply shares the same hours out amongst more workers. Look at the figures for Full Time Equivalents and adjust them for the reduction in average working hours and the growth in jobs (if any) will show the true extent of the spin behind these figures.

    Jim Murphy can point to the figures of 20 years ago because he knows that todays figures have been designed to hide the true extent of the waste of our greatest asset – our people. Yet more spin from the champagne socialists who have lost their fizz.

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Annie Hayes


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