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[Image: Daily Mirror.]

Some of you may be confused by the fact that you still can’t get a job or a decent wage, after the fantastic unemployment figures released by the minority Tory government this week.

Don’t worry, you’re not going loopy. They’re lying – that’s all.

The Tories have claimed that “over three million more people [are] in work since 2010”.

In a press release, they said “the number of people in work is at the highest level since records began in 1971.

“The record figures have been driven by increases in the number of people in secure work – over 75% of the increase in employment over the past 7 years has been in full-time work.

“There are now 338,000 more people in work compared to this time last year.

“Today’s figures also show:

•”the employment rate is at a record high of 75.1%, with 32.07 million people now in work – an increase of 338,000 on the year
•”this year has been a strong one for employment growth with 247,000 more people now in work since January
•”there are a near record 768,000 vacancies in the economy at any one time
•”the female employment rate is at a record high of 70.5%, with over 15 million women in work
•”youth unemployment is down by 394,000 since 2010
•”there are more British people in work than ever before and around 9 in 10 people in jobs are UK nationals
•”the UK employment rate is now the fourth highest in the European Union and 7 percentage points higher than the EU28 average

“Separate figures out today show 1.3 million claims have been made to Universal Credit. Of the 570,000 people now claiming Universal Credit, 39% are in work.”

That’s a lot to take in, but don’t try too hard – most of it isn’t true.

Let’s go to Steve Topple in The Canary, who has done a lot of work analysing the figures. He states:

“Since the Tories first came to power, the ONS says that based on employment figures for May-July 2010 [spreadsheet row 228] (the first data set with the Tories in coalition) compared to its latest release [spreadsheet row 311] he total number of people in any kind of work has increased by 2,748,000 [spreadsheet column B]. But this breaks down as an additional 1,991,000 ’employees’ [column C], of which 1.7 million more are full-time ’employees’ [spreadsheet column I].

“The number of full-time self-employed people has increased by nearly half a million [spreadsheet column K], and part-time by 342,000 [column L].

“The number of workers having to take second jobs has only marginally decreased by 19,000 [spreadsheet column M].

“35,000 more people are on temporary training contracts [spreadsheet column S].

“There are 10,000 more unpaid family workers [spreadsheet column E].”

So the Tory claim of three million more people being in work is false. It has had to be made up by including people in temporary contracts and working for free.

He continues:

“Since March 2010 [spreadsheet row 70 column H], public sector employment has fallen by nearly half a million [row 98 column H]. But this figure has also been adjusted for public sector companies being privatised and vice versa. So, the actual number of public sector jobs lost since March 2010 is nearly one million [spreadsheet row 70/98 column C]. Also buried in the ONS data is the fact that 42,000 jobs in the armed forces have been lost since March 2010 [spreadsheet rows 210/238 column F].”

What about young people?

“Since 2010 [spreadsheet rows 228/311] The number of 16-to-17-year-olds classed as “economically inactive” has increased by 5.7% [spreadsheet column P]. Employment among 16-to-17-year-olds has fallen by 0.9% [spreadsheet column N]. The number of 16-to-17-year-olds in full-time education has fallen by 41,000 [spreadsheet row 228/311, columns G/H/I combined].”

And wages?

“Perhaps the most damning figure for the Tories is that on real wages. Because while the ONS reports that real terms wages have fallen 0.5% year-on-year, the drop since May 2010 is even greater. The ONS says real terms wages (excluding bonuses) have fallen by £6 a week (1.07%) [spreadsheet row 73/158 column B] since the Tories came to power. To get these wages, full-time workers are working 0.6 more hours a week than in May 2010, and part-time workers 0.5 hours more [spreadsheet rows 482/565 columns D/E].”

We’ll return to this, as the wage fall is a huge indicator of the biggest lie of all.

Mr Topple concludes:

“Since the Tories came to power in 2010, more people are in precarious self employment; the public sector has been decimated; young people have been abandoned and we’ve all seen our wages plummet. So, far from being “all in this together”, the UK is becoming a dustbin for employment opportunities. ”

It is certainly worth pointing out that none of this has been lost on Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams, who has tweeted:

Another report, in the UK Business Insider, states very clearly that, notwithstanding whether the Tories have been lying about what the figures mean, our unemployment figures themselves are based on a bigger lie.

“The statistical definition of ‘unemployment’ relies on a fiction that economists tell themselves about the nature of work,” the article states. “The official definition of unemployment disguises the true rate. In reality, about 21.5% of all working-age people (defined as ages 16 to 64) are without jobs, or 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“In the UK and the US, technical “full employment” has, as a rule of thumb, historically been placed at an unemployment rate of 5% to 6%. When unemployment gets that low it generally means that anyone who wants a job can have one.

“It also suggests that wages will start to rise. It becomes more difficult for crappy employers to keep their workers when those workers know they can move to nicer jobs. And workers can demand more money from a new employer when they move, or demand more money from their current employer for not moving.

“By that thinking, the UK should be a golden age for workers — low inflation and low unemployment… Of course, that isn’t happening.

“Wages in the private sector have not started to rise. Public-sector wage rises are capped at 1%. There has been a little uptick in new-hire rates, but the overall trend is flat. This is part of the proof that shows real unemployment can’t be just 4.5%.

“More important, wages are not keeping pace with inflation… Workers’ real incomes are actually in decline, which is weird because so-called full employment ought to be spurring wages upward. Overall inflation ought to be driven by wage inflation. Yet wage inflation isn’t happening.

“The answer is that unemployment is not really that low. In reality, about 21.5% of British workers are either officially unemployed, inactive, or employed part time even though they really want full-time work. (The ONS has a chapter on that here.) Some of those people — parents with newborns, university students — may not want jobs right now, but they will want jobs soon.”

Now, you could argue that nobody is saying that 21.5 per cent of working-age people aren’t out of work – the employment rate is only said to be 75 per cent, after all.

But the unemployment rate is said to be only 4.5 per cent. That’s why we’re being told the UK has full employment and it isn’t true.

That’s why you can’t get a job that pays well – even though the Tories claim there are 768,000 vacancies; there are still so many people out of work that they can continue pushing wages down.


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