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What's Going On With Employment?

Falling employment seems to be reported as the result each time the figures are released. This seems to be the result. Yet it is never accurately reported by BBC Bristol. I have complained about this before, but it never gets taken seriously. I tried again the last time the figures were released and got through – off air (no way I’m going live!) – to someone called Lucy Tegg. She’s actually one of their broadcasters; for once I’m speaking to someone aside from a random office person.

I had hoped she might take it seriously, but of course when I brought up the fact that a person no longer claiming isn’t necessarily a person now gainfully employed I was rebuffed. My question was met with another; she asked me what angle I was coming from. I told her that I was interested in the facts of the situation and that assuming people are being employed is a stab in the dark at best. Moreover it (quite deliberately, I believe) leads people to think that welfare reform is working.

The phone call quickly ended. I say ended, actually she just stopped talking. My attempts at getting a response just fell into the aural abyss so I hang up; I can’t help thinking that was deliberate. 

This is the BBC. They are not interested in facts, only propaganda.

I just don't buy the claim these figures mean anything significant. Firstly we all know the DWP has adopted a punishingly brutal approach to their 'customers'. This has inevitably and unarguably led to a drop in people claiming. Are people that are on the various schemes, including Workfare or the Work Programme (and any post WP schemes that one finds oneself on for 'failing' it), being counted? Some people say they are most think they are not. I have not seen concrete evidence either way, but it is very likely, given the attitude of the DWP, that such people are categorised differently: in training, on work experience, etc. Not technically unemployed - signing on.

Surely if the reform was as effective as you would assume it to be then wouldn't the figures be greater? According to the Guardian, the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.4% from 6.5! But the government claims success due to what appears to be a consistent, period on period, drop. Yet a few thousand here and there surely can't be indicative of anything. 

The number of people in work rose 167,000 on the previous three months to 30.6 million, with 132,000 fewer people out of work, at 2.08 million people. The jobless total is the lowest since the end of 2009, giving an unemployment rate of 6.4%, compared with 6.5% last month.

There were also 8.86 million economically inactive people – those without jobs but not seeking or available to work – aged 16-64. This was 15,000 more than in January to March 2014 but 130,000 fewer than a year earlier.

So there are 167,000 people more working (in the period until June) than before, but 132,000 people less out of work. That's a difference of 35,000. Where did they come from and why are they being counted if, as well, the number of economically inactive people (those not signing on, I assume, presumably including the sick) has risen. I don't understand that incongruity.

The general secretary of the TUC, Frances O'Grady, said the figures suggested the economy is "very good at creating low-paid jobs, but struggling to create the better-paid work we need for a fair and sustainable recovery".

She said: "Self-employment has been responsible for almost half of the rise in employment over the last year. The fact that self-employed workers generally earn less than employees means our pay crisis is even deeper than previously thought, as their pay is not recorded in official figures."
 This seems to be the key: self employment, which is a potential house of cards because if you aren't found to be pulling enough hours while claiming tax credits (which JC+ will tell you is the way to go), then you could be forced to pay back that benefit. How many people are going to be in that situation, trying to make a living selling Avon for example.

Unemployment is just over 2 million, making a total of 10 million + for people not producing profit to please the government (the only way society deems you to have any worth, of course). Yet we are expected to champion a rise a fall of a few thousand in the claimant count. In fact, as you can see from the BBC article, they only focus on the drop in unemployment - never the rise in employment. That doesn't make much sense to me since one might think that would be the focus - a concrete statistic showing that more people are working. Tellingly they focus on the drop in people claiming - because that's what the Tories care more about; cutting people from the social safety net. The rampant sanctioneering is evidence thereof. I would think these relatively small figures are just the tides of people shifting between, to and from, one McJob to another. That's what a Tory measures as success; limited thinking toward an agenda of curtailing support in a climate of austerity and unease.


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