Thursday, May 10, 2007

HLFS March 2007

Try and make sense out of the following;

March 2002

Unemployment rate 5.3 percent
Officially unemployed 104,000
Number Jobless 188,500
On the unemployment benefit 115,322

March 2007

Unemployment rate 3.8 percent
Officially unemployed 84,000
Number Jobless 173,500
On the unemployment benefit 28,845

The number of jobless people is only down by 8 percent, the officially unemployed, by 19 percent, but the number on the dole is down 75 percent.

People can't live on fresh air.

There are a number of scenarios.

1/ People have moved to other benefits but still consider themselves unemployed
2/ People are sharing benefits eg boyfriend sharing the DPB
3/ The black market has significantly increased
4/ Young unemployed people are staying at home supported by their parents (the 15-19 year-old unemployment rate has risen)
5/ Older unemployed people are relying on their working partner's support
6/ With the tight labour market and conditions favouring employees more people are moving between jobs and temporarily jobless but able to support themselves

It just might be that Labour really has put the screws on people who shouldn't have been on a benefit because there were other forms of support available to them and I would endorse that. In which case the spin about low unemployment (see below) might be to reassure the public that people aren't being denied benefits they once had access to. That could be very unpopular among some Labour voters.

David Benson Pope says, "High unemployment is a thing of the past. Low unemployment and high labour force participation are now standard features of the employment scene."

173,500 jobless people is "low unemployment"?

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