The Household Labour Force Survey is the source for our official unemployment rate. Sixteen thousand households are surveyed quarterly.
Being 'employed' is defined by working 1 or more hours in a week.
Employed: All persons in the working-age population who during the reference week worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment; or worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice owned or operated by a relative; or had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday.
In September 2006 the HLFS data showed that 43 percent of one parent with dependent children only households had no-one employed.
Yet my OIA data shows 107,000 single parents with dependent children were on some form of benefit. According to the Census data from only six months earlier there were 145,000 such families.
Allowing for very slight variation due to information gathered in different months, this provides an unemployment rate of 74 percent. Of course some on benefits are also working part-time but typically only around 1 in 5. That would drop the rate to about 59 percent. Still well above 43 percent.
Which probably shows the nonsense of using one or more hours paid employment as the official definition for being 'employed'.
The HLFS is useful - for those who would paint a rosier picture than is really the case.
A good hard sledge
26 minutes ago