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Not lagging, but not leading either

Stephanie Flanders | 10:57 UK time, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

This is not the UK labour market of old: the headline unemployment numbers are moving with the economy, not lagging far behind as they have in the past.

Job centreBut there's nothing in these figures to suggest the labour market is leading triumphantly ahead.

The employment picture for the next year looks even more fragile than the economic recovery.

The total UK claimant count in February has seen the largest one month fall in more than a decade, and the surprisingly sharp rise in January has been revised down.

The broader measure of UK joblessness also fell by more than 30,000 in the three months to January, though the regional figures suggest unemployment is still rising in Scotland and Wales.

So, the unemployment numbers appear to be flattening out much sooner than in past downturns. The number of vacancies is also rising surprisingly soon.

But there's still plenty to be concerned about: not least, the fact that employment also fell over those three months, by 54,000.

A very large rise in inactivity made up the difference: some 149,000 people have dropped out of the jobs market altogether. It's difficult to draw any firm conclusions about that rise: two-thirds of it - 98,000 - was made up of students reporting that they were no longer in the market for paid work.

There were also significant increases in the numbers taking early retirement - and choosing to stay home to look after family.

The bigger picture is that the jobs market is still a highly uncertain place. As I've said in past months (see Both accident and design and Which side are you on?) the smaller than expected rise in unemployment this time around owes much to private sector workers taking a hit on their earnings.

The Bank of England warned earlier this week that employers could find it hard to keep on workers in a weak recovery, if employees try to make up the ground they've lost.

Though it must be said that so far there's little sign of that happening, even with the recent sharp rise in headline inflation.

But note how much public sector jobs growth continues to flatter the figures.

The number of public sector workers grew by 7,000 between September and December, while the private sector workforce shrank by 61,000 over the period.

With job losses already being announced in town halls, we cannot expect that to last.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    "The number of public sector workers grew by 7,000 between September and December, while the private sector workforce shrank by 61,000 over the period."

    Wow! Vacancies at the asylum - more lunatics needed.

    The biggest benefit will come from reducing the public sector headcount by just 1 - redundancy cheque for Brown, please...

  • Comment number 2.

    What is going on here?
    50K less jobs.
    50K less non students looking for work
    Are people working in the black economy?
    Or are 2 income families surviving on 1 income because interest rates are so low?
    Is there a gender bias of the people dropping out of looking for work (females deciding to have babies?).
    These figures are very confusing.

  • Comment number 3.

    Again, boyched figures from this useless government! 7,000 increase in public sector (will this ever stop?) with a 61,000 decrease in the private sector means, by my maths, a 54,000 increase in unemployment. Hopefully the rest of the electorate are not stupid enough to be conned by all this spin.....Then again, these are the same electorate that Labour have been dumbing down over the past decade.

  • Comment number 4.

    The figures are oddly resilient---- I say oddly, because in the business world I inhabit things are so tough all over that real shops are shutting and real offices closing and no-one ever talks about hiring...my inbox is stuffed with doxens of people offering free weeks/months work experience (ie zero wage work).

    I also think the effects of zero wage increases now in their second year hardly ever seem to get mentioned as being equivalent to job losses in their effect on the total tonnage of consumer spending power available and therefore economic activity.

    I suppose what I am saying is that taking my own experience and the various businesses I go into and talk candidly with as a basis for reference---there seems a really weird, dreamlike disconnect between various economic statistics and indicators--and the real world --if such a thing still exists.

    That in turn must make it difficult for you having to not just use accepted modelling of economic history and behaviour to explain the underlying connection to the real world, or discern underlying trends every month....but have to keep breaking and re-assembling the models themselves every month.

  • Comment number 5.

    I am sitting here applying for jobs after redundancy in january from a major IT corporation. I have virtually abandoned all intentions to find a job in the private sector...ie the part of the economy that actually creates the wealth as "if you cant beat them, you might as well join them"
    The area in which I live is almost exclusively populated by comfortably off public sector workers, most of whome have no concept (yet) of the catostrophic state of the sector of the economy that is actually paying their wages and pensions
    What really bugs me, is that I am now seeing people barely older than me, retiring or early pensioned off from maybe as little as 25 years service (or less), on gold plated "pay as you go, index linked pensions I do not intend have to pass my neighbours as the jog in the spring sunshine, while I scrape a living in the private sector, paying taxes to keep them in a comfortable pension
    I am now retraining to work in a job that is within the public sector, or supplies a service to the public sector.....and until the country goes totally bust (not far off I fear) I will at least have a job

  • Comment number 6.

    As a relatively 'new boy' to JSA, (having worked and contributed considerably for 45 years), I believe that there is a fairly massive differences between 'people claiming JSA' and 'unemployed'. I was only able to claim / receive JSA for 6 months, being removed from those claiming BUT still being unemployed with no useful assistance fron my JobCentrePlus - especially when dealing with their untrained 'temps'

  • Comment number 7.

    Statistics can show whatever you want. The interesting point here is more people economically are not active which means more people on either benefits or not contributing to the economy and that equals less growth and very likely higher taxes.
    It does not matter how you name someone that does not work the end result counts

  • Comment number 8.

    What is not counted is those who have been made redundant and have a little to live on for the moment. To sign on at Jobcentre Plus and be registered is a complete waste of time and effort but in a few months will be necessary for this group. Watch figures rise then and you'll be wondering where these people came from. I predict there is worse to come...

  • Comment number 9.

    public sector jobs keep people employed saving and spending; its whether the jobs contribute to the economy in themselves and why so many are so wretchedly inefficient resource hungry and beholden to process not product. I work at home when I should be claiming incapacity; I am opposite a government department-never have so many had so many fag breaks short days personal calls in the stairway and wandering around in a very casual environment, doing a task which could be done by other means.

  • Comment number 10.

    The important figure is that there are 54,000 less people working in the UK now than three months ago. Even if all these people are not claiming benefits it does mean they are not economically active and therefore not paying tax and NI so government income will be down adding to the growing deficit. If economic growth, as the government claim, will drive the recovery and help pay off the deficit then we need more people in work not less. Your statement "149,000 people have dropped out of the jobs market altogether" is very worrying.

  • Comment number 11.

    Nobody can accuse you of spinning on the Government's behalf can they Stephanie? The method of reporting the unemployment figures underwent a change in 1997 - so that all of the figures that make up the true unemployment total are available and that the headline figure is not based on the claimant count, as it was under the Tories, but on the International Labour Organisation figures. One thing that this government has done, half-heartedly and not nearly transparently enough but better than anything the Tories have ever done or suggested, is to make information available to the general public and the press.
    If, heaven forbid, Cameron was announcing these figures under the old Tory methodology, he would be claiming unemployment at 1.59 million and trying to hide all of the other statistical figures that make up the balance.

  • Comment number 12.

    I fear that the unemployment statistics actually show that we have not yet had the downturn in employment that is to be expected from a recession due directly to the lowest interest rates for 350 years and QE.

    However ...

    Deficit financing has limits, and inevitable consequences, as was pointed out by the EU yesterday and when (and it is not 'if') these unnatural economic condition are reversed the brown stuff will hit the blade of the rotating air stirring device in a big way and unemployment will revert to its natural level - unless the statistics are fiddled of course...

  • Comment number 13.

    This doesn't take that much explaining... the private sector is flexing and reacting to the economic situation in the best way it can - that might be pegging or reducing wage bills, by either action on wages or on job numbers (FTE). The public sector on the other hand continues in denial, insulated from the reality that bites the proportion of the work force that is paying for their comfort. The Taxpayers Alliance recently released information on the levels of public sector pension deficit with some authorities now looking at close on a £1bn gap.

    Looking for savings? Move the public sector to DC pensions now. Cut out the hordes of non-jobs and quangos. Roll back the nanny state.

    Simples.

  • Comment number 14.

    So unemployment is falling faster than predicted....isn't this a double edged sword in that the faster the economy gets going again the quicker the BoE are going to have to raise interest rates? I know this is a long way off being a full blown recovery yet, and it looks like I'm jumping the gun a bit (ok....alot) but its worth pondering the fact that any raise in rates will push more people over the edge financially, but an improving economy will hasten the rise in inflation. Will Mervyn King just ignore it saying that it will drop off the scale in the fullness of time? After all, he wants a lower pound to help exports, or will the man on the street grow tired of low wages and evaporating savings in a recovering economy and want some of the cash to come his way in the form of higher wages? Inflation is the elephant in the room, nobody wants to face the fact that its there, in as much as its easy to keep it under control when the economy is flat-lined, but after all the QE billions it will be coming and the faster we recover the faster it will be here.

  • Comment number 15.

    As Contributions-based Job Seekers Allowance only lasts for 6 months, people then drop off the radar and so give the impression of a reduction in the government's underlying employment statistics.

  • Comment number 16.

    Firstly aren't a lot of people going to automatically drop off the Job Seekers Allowance list because they hit their 6 month limit for non means tested Job Seekers?
    Secondly I think you will find, with not too much digging, that the Job Centres have been asked to strike off people with much less tolerance than previously if they are a bit late for an interview etc which then removes them from the number count until such time as when and IF they manage to go through the procedures to get back on the list.

  • Comment number 17.

    #1 PercyPants
    How right you are.

  • Comment number 18.

    The bankers are making loans difficult as governments entertain new regulatory requirements for the banks. As the people are upset that the banks were bailed-out while they recieved nothing for the losses to retirement and investment accounts. The bankers want to continue with the same instruments that caused the problems, want to continue to bilk the depositors with unnecessary fees and charges and hope to continue to rely on goverments to assume their bad accounts after they have made their money. So, the banks are keeping the economies in a stall as they lobby the weak governments to insure that would be illegal in any other business is not so in banking. I doubt there are enough elected officials with any sense of public good that can move the banking reforms forward and the bankers will continue to make business loans difficult until they get their way. This is about the relationship of governments and banking and who is in charge....right now it is the bankers. They argue about free markets, even after it was the public taxpayer that saved them from their own corruption. A free market would have let them fail.

  • Comment number 19.

    The unemployment figures seem to be of limited value because they reflect a range of unrelated factors - although of political value to the government when falling - and particularly do not include people who have given up looking or have been forced out by rules for Jobseekers Allowance.

    Surely the number in employment is a more relevant number and should be the number headlined by the BBC when reporting monthly employment data.

  • Comment number 20.

    Why are all these 'students reporting that they were no longer in the market for paid work'? Also, why are there so many economically inactive people not signing on? Is the black market growing?

  • Comment number 21.

    the answer is shorter working hours.
    and of course less ridiculous pay for the men at the top.

    My employer advertised for 2 full time positions. We got over 80 applications (some with PhD's) but in the end we didn't hire just 2 people. We hired 8 part timers for the same cost to the company, but for far greater good in our local community.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think the numbers suggest that the many people who lost their jobs in the last 2 years have found new employment (at a lower salary or part time).

    This is why there has been a decrease in overall unemployment.

    However the increase in the number of people who are 'long term unemployed' shows that those who did not get 'straight back on the horse' - or who held out for a job of similar pay - are now slipping into the void of joblessness.

    Statistics can be presented in many various ways - and tuned to be what you want them to be - as we are all aware.

    Here is an example of not the media - but the 'experts' getting it so wrong. I think both Moody & S&P have backed Greece's plans for deficit reduction - but have they actually looked at the proposal carefully?

    This article below shows that Greece (like all the other nations) are hugely over-estimating their growth potential in the next 2 years - simply to conform to their deficit reduction plans. However this is like a bankrupt talking up his ability to pay - when it's far too late for that.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/193857-greek-crisis-is-over-i-don-t-think-so

    It really makes you wonder who is doing the analysis at the credit raters - and if they are prepared to live an unsustainable lie in the credit worthiness world - then might it be a similar tactic with the unemployment numbers?

    The fact is if you count part time workers as being 'employed' then your unemployment figures look good - however part timers (from full time) will buy less, consume less and spend less - not really a good thing for a 'consumption based recovery' - which seems to be the only option on the table.

  • Comment number 23.

    People no longer looking for jobs, economically inactive people, ever increasing incapacity benefit. Now who is going to pay for the ever advancing march of public sector employment (The executive branch of the Social Security System). We should all join the lunatic asylum, then just play pass the parcel with the wage packet.

    Who is going to believe all this tosh, mind you can get a lot with 200 billion. The dawn will eventually arise and all the public sector employees will demand an above inflation pay rise to reward them for their hard work during the recession.

    We have been here before, inflation is galloping along to fix it all for Gordon with the backing of the Unite union of course, now who did we say was running the country?

  • Comment number 24.

    Some Good News at Last!!

    I cannot understand the mentality of some people here commenting. Why are people deliberately trying to run down the UK???

    I work in construction, and I can already see good signs. First time buyers are actually buying property. That is always a good sign. What is different, we are not seeing as many speculators (which can only be a good thing).

    The construction industry is always the last to recover, and if things are looking up in construction then generally things are good in the economy.

    The government Kickstart schemes seems to be yielding dividends.

  • Comment number 25.

    The big question is "do we honestly believe these figures or anything on your site anymore?"
    I fear that the politics/media show is now so mirky it is utterly meaningless.
    The BBC could save some pennies by deleting this section of the website?
    Apologies for being so cynical but you only have yourselves to blame!

  • Comment number 26.

    The key figure is surely not how many are claiming JSA, but how many people are in work.

    And that figure has fallen by 54,000.

    Today's figure is only rosy if you believe 98,000 students backpacking abroad or playing on their X-Box instead of looking for work is somehow "UK economic recovery".

  • Comment number 27.

    Percy said

    "Move the public sector to DC pensions now. Cut out the hordes of non-jobs and quangos. Roll back the nanny state."

    - OK lets roll back to DC pensions, but then also lets pay the public sector Private sector wages?


    - Quango's - oh you mean the one Thatcher created. As a neutral, Tories LOVE quango's. They love the central control they can give. A mantra followed by New Labour.

    - Roll back Nanny State - is this the same Nanny state which means a girl can be starved to death in her house? Or maybe the same Nanny State where kids and torture other kids? I hate the use of Nanny State, which basically means, leave the diadvantaged in society to rely on charity!

  • Comment number 28.

    "The number of public sector workers grew by 7,000 between September and December, while the private sector workforce shrank by 61,000 over the period. "

    Says it all.

    The public sector is not the public sector of old. In the past, in my experience, you went into the public sector if you could not cut it in the private sector; a nice cosy little job with security.

    Interesting to see how it will be cut given the employment contracts people have.

    Of course we could always keep growing the public sector infinitum and print lots of money.

  • Comment number 29.

    The number of people of working age counted as "inactive" is at an all-time high. It's risen by 149,000 over the quarter to reach 8.16 million.

    That's Brown's Britain. If you're not working for the state then you're probably not working.

  • Comment number 30.

    You will find that the decrease in the JSA figure is largely down to people moving on to Government schemes like New Deal. Once you are on them you come off the JSA count even though you still get your benefit. All Governments fiddle. As for the public sector still increasing employment that is pure lunacy which will unravel by this time next year.

  • Comment number 31.

    But there's still plenty to be concerned about: not least, the fact that employment also fell over those three months, by 54,000.

    A very large rise in inactivity made up the difference: some 149,000 people have dropped out of the jobs market altogether.


    In terms of looking for recovery, employment must be the figure to be concentrating on. We all know the claimant counts have all sorts of distortions. But if overall employment is falling, this points to very poor GDP figures. As unless our industries are getting much more efficient, falling employment would be linked to falling GDP.

  • Comment number 32.


    " 149,000 People have dropped out of the Jobs Market."

    I think you will find that they are 55 years plus. That they are white,indigenous and demoralised. They know they are considered second or even third class citizens and there is nothing out there for them except their eventual State Pension at 65 years of age. And, the Tories even want to take that away from them!

    So there is another 149,000 potential BNP voters.

  • Comment number 33.

    5. At 12:04pm on 17 Mar 2010, mangizmo wrote:

    "I have virtually abandoned all intentions to find a job in the private sector...ie the part of the economy that actually creates the wealth "

    I think you're getting confused between 'wealth' and 'money'. For the public sector does produce wealth for the country, the private sector only produces wealth for individuals - and it does that unevenly. The wealth created by the public sector is shared by all - but it doesn't (or shouldn't) benefit only a small section of society.

    "The area in which I live is almost exclusively populated by comfortably off public sector workers, most of whome have no concept (yet) of the catostrophic state of the sector of the economy that is actually paying their wages and pensions"

    Well you must be doing fairly well from the company you're keeping. 'Comfortably off' does not describe most public sector workers - only the 'top end'.

    "I do not intend have to pass my neighbours as the jog in the spring sunshine, while I scrape a living in the private sector, paying taxes to keep them in a comfortable pension"

    Is this the 'jealousy of Capitalism' I see before me??

  • Comment number 34.

    #1
    "The biggest benefit will come from reducing the public sector headcount by just 1 - redundancy cheque for Brown, please..."

    No redundancy cheque just a bill for damages (he can get his ex-mate Blair to contribute).

  • Comment number 35.

    For too long the unemployment and jobless figures in the U.K. have not been subjected to sufficient scrutiny. My personal experience leads me to the conclusion that they are quite seriously misleading. I am self employed and a few months ago , after four months without any employment, I decided that it was time that I counted as a statistic. I had many self employed friends who were in the same situation and we decided collectively that we were fed up of being invisible. As tax payers we felt that it was our right to be seen and counted as unemployed.
    I made an appointment to sign on and was told that because I was self employed and my partner worked more than twenty hours a week I was not eligible for job seeker's allowance. I was only entitled to have my national insurance payments kept up - for which I would have to sign on fortnightly. When I asked if this meant that I would at least count in the jobless and job seeking figures I was told that I wouldn't. When I remonstrated that this made a mockery of the figures the interviewer leant across and told me in a confidential manner that the figures were a nonsense and that she spent as much as 30% of her time moving claimants from one form of benefit to another so that they wouldn't count as jobless or job seeking. I was completely gobsmacked. On the basis of 'not counting' I withdrew my application. My fellow self employed colleagues all suffered the same fate.
    My belief that the figures are massaged and illusory was further confirmed when I saw an excellent documentary on the beeb last week about jobless families. There were two couples who were made unemployed at the same time from the same factory. Each couple was told that if they made a joint application for jobseeker's allowance then only one of them would have to go and sign on - which for people with kids must seem attractive. But what it also meant was that their joint application was only seen as one. So although four people were actually unemployed, statistically they only counted as two.
    Just another way in which the figures do not reflect reality.
    What is reality ? Well, I think January's tax take is the biggest indication yet of the true contraction in the economy. I recognize that the largest part of the jan tax take comes from company taxes but it also reflects the earnings of the self employed. It was a whopping 10% lower than anticipated. The treasury hadn't anticipated such a drop because it had fallen into the trap of believing in fictitious unemployment figures.
    There is a real danger that future budgets and planning are based upon palatable statistics rather than the truth. Perhaps the government feels it's doing a grand job when it looks at the Spanish 19% unemployed. But is there the remotest possibility that their figures are truthful where ours are an illusion ?
    There is something wrong when a kid can leave school and be entitled to
    benefits when someone who has been paying taxes for many years is excluded.
    And how convenient that being married to a partner who works (thank goodness) means that one can't receive benefit - while at the same time we have separate tax liabilities which means her earnings cannot be shared with my (still) non-earning ones to offset the fact that she is having to pay the mortgage and all of the bills - in effect to support me when I had foolishly imagined that after 30 years of being a taxpayer I would at least be entitled to some form of basic subsistence. But no - in a world of spin - I'm not even a statistic.
    I hope the latest figures are evidence of improvement - but as evidence of the true state of the economy - believe them at your peril.

  • Comment number 36.

    In all this argument about cutting back the number of public sector workers, I see there is no mention of the Compass report from last November, which suggested that the actual saving the Government would make from firing a worker earning £25k, after accounting for the lost income tax, lost VAT on reduced personal spending etc, and the extra costs of benefits, was only £2,000. Now, I'm not saying that every public sector worker is doing a worthwile job which adds value to the country, nor that efficiencies can't be made, with workers producing more, but we need to look at this in perspective, and if you start firing hundreds of thousands of public sector workers (as has been suggested on many a right wing website), then you increase the jobless total, increase the cost to the Government, and increase the deficit. But then maybe thats what its about for some of these conservatives?

  • Comment number 37.

    13. At 12:26pm on 17 Mar 2010, PercyPants wrote:

    "Simples."

    ...and in your solution - where does demand come from?

    With a flat private sector, and a diminished public sector - who will be providing the consumption this country needs to get back on it's feet?

    Foreigners? - well sadly no, as the price of Chinese goods remains low and the quantity of exports from the UK is minimal.

    At the moment the only demand is coming from the public sector - take it away and it will be like 1929 all over again.

    This is why the US is in such a state - because it's got a very small public sector (relatively) it cannot boost demand effectively when the private sector fails.

    Obama's healthcare plan is to create public sector jobs to create the demand required. It's got nothing to do with health, or the wellbeing of the nation (they are just coincidental benefits).

  • Comment number 38.

    "This is about the relationship of governments and banking and who is in charge....right now it is the bankers. They argue about free markets, even after it was the public taxpayer that saved them from their own corruption. A free market would have let them fail."

    Yes. Yes. Yes. (and please no references, kevinB, to a certain movie)

    I am drowning in dejavu here.

    People don't realise how powerful the banks are, even wounded (which makes them more dangerous). They are a state within a state.

    Has to stop.

  • Comment number 39.

    #21
    " We hired 8 part timers for the same cost to the company, but for far greater good in our local community."

    ===============================================================

    Do they house share or have high earning 'other halves'.

  • Comment number 40.

    EffeminateFellow #1 #13

    Replacing Mr Brown with Mr Cameron is your unwritten message.

    The last time the Conservative Party was in government during a recession, interest rates went up to 18% and unemployment went up to 3m for the best part of a decade. Hardly a message of hope for those unemployed...

    The last time that David Cameron had any direct role in economic policy making we ended up with Black Wednesday.

    The last time there was a Conservative Government discussing sexuality of that type was banned. Peers of that persuasion tried to keep it banned, when the current government sought to overturn this ban.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/849478.stm

    Hardly a message of hope for those of an effeminate disposition or unemployed.

    Being pink or unemployed and voting blue is a very high risk strategy indeed.

  • Comment number 41.

    Many people are not counted as unemployed who should be, as other posters have pointed out. A bit like the crime figures, where low level crime is not reported therefore not recorded. There are now 5 million or so on benefits compared to 2 million in 1979. This includes job seekers allowance, incapacity and income support claimants. A further 3 million of working age economically inactive. Millions more working part time or they have low pay subsidised by tax credits. This is the consequence of mass immigration, loss of manufacturing and sending jobs overseas, new technology, and a benefits system that encourages people not to work. A bloated public sector employing 7 million which has to be paid for by the private sector. The headline unemployment figure is meaningless. Walk round any town centre in the North of England between 10 am and 3 pm and you will see many young people who are not doing any form of work but have plenty of leisure time. How many students leaving universities this summer will find work ? I know my daughter and 80% of her friends are struggling. They will have good degrees from a reputable university. None of us had a problem getting work in the late 1970s and we were supposed to be an economic basket case then, even average students had a choice of work. Thank you big business and governments for making getting even a low paid job a manic, mad, rat race. 200,000 people recently applied for about 20 posts with North Yorkshire police, does that not say something about the state of our economy ? Do not believe government spin and wonky statistics.

  • Comment number 42.

    #19
    "Surely the number in employment is a more relevant number and should be the number headlined by the BBC when reporting monthly employment data"
    =====================================================================

    Totally correct.

    But surely you don't need the BBC; just look closely at the numbers.

  • Comment number 43.

    There are only 2 pieces of news today.

    1) The US pledges to keep rates low:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8571278.stm

    2) Japan increases stimulus measures
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8571624.stm

    Do not judge nations by their words - but by their actions.

    Anyone who claims this crisis is anywhere near over is obviously blinded by the double speak of the leaders and not concentrating on what really matters.

    Revised estimates, seasonally adjusted figures, indicators - all smokescreens for the gullible - the real story is in what they do and not what they say.

  • Comment number 44.

    To stereotype ALL public sector workers as basically a bunch of chain smoking, workshy loafers is just ludicrous. As I know from personal experience, e.g my partner, many in the public sector are overworked, underpaid when compared to their private sector equivalents and contribute a significant amount of personal time to getting the job done. So can we drop this private sector good, public sector bad nonsense and move the debate on from "lets just blame the public sector"...its a little bit more subtle than that...

  • Comment number 45.

    I keep reading all the moaning blogs about the public sector and that it is the private sector that creates the wealth, this is only partly true, if the whole of the public sector were to be closed tomorrow the private sector would grind to a very quick halt!
    I can just hear the rebukes oh some parts of the public sector are acceptable, only the ones that directly affect me of course! try living without a police force for example, maybe we need to privatise the bbc? Just how greedy, selfish and dare I say right wing are we becoming?

    Then you all complain about the huge pensions and pay in the public sector, well try telling the school/hospital cleaner about their high pay and pension, minimum wage and minimum pension to boot! I do not doubt that there are many in senior management in the public sector that are not worth their salt, but, it is quite wrong and unjust to carte blanche say the public sector is over paid with gold plated pensions, unless of course we want a right wing fascist state with a return to dickensian Britain, I suppose looking at the many posts that is sadly what the I'm ok in society want.
    Having just defended the public sector, I found myself looking for employment recently, i found a job not with the help of job centre plus, but almost in spite of it! My experience of job centre plus is that it is poorly run, and of no help to those looking for work! I am not silly enough to think that all the public sector is this bad though.


  • Comment number 46.

    Unemployment figures often lag (ad Stephanie mentions) - what doesn't lag is world trade....

    " The world shipping market is mired in its biggest slump since World War II, said James Fisher & Sons Plc, a U.K. hauler of oil products.

    “This is the worst shipping recession since the war,” Chairman Tim Harris said today in a telephone interview. He spoke after the Barrow-in-Furness, England-based company reported little-changed annual profit. Prospects for a rebound at its shipping unit hinge on the timing of any increase in industrial output in northwest Europe, Harris said.

    Demand to haul cargoes has plunged because of the global recession, sending charter rates lower and spurring carriers to take vessels out of service. BW Gas Ltd., the world’s biggest shipper of liquefied petroleum gas, said last week it idled four tankers because rates plunged so low that each vessel was losing the company about $25,000 a day.

    “There’s been an unparalleled collapse in demand,” said Harris, who was previously chairman of Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker. Fisher has a fleet of tankers that haul oil products around U.K. waters."

    Taken from http://seekingalpha.com/article/194116-what-recovery-shipping-in-worst-slump-since-wwii

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree these figures are encouraging but at the same time raise more questions.
    I think, like many people, I honestly don't know what the true situation is. As someone who is looking for work I regularly get told that some 200 people will go for one job.
    I'm not sure I believe what the politicians tell us either. I have heard of a campaign group called Jobs4UK which are calling for a National Petition For Jobs. They are calling on politicians to make clear their commitments to jobs in the election campaign.
    They have a Facebook Group and their website is www.jobs4uk.org.uk for those who are interested.

  • Comment number 48.

    LIES ! ALL LIES

  • Comment number 49.

    In the run up to a General Election, statistics like these must be closely scrutinised. The way that the report has been headlined is rather disingenuous.

    Short-term unemployment may have dipped in the latest monthly sample, but reflects a net gain in the public sector that more than outweighs losses in the private sector, while long-term unemployment continues to rise.

    Not only does this continue to reflect the attrition of the UK economy, but also clearly demonstrates the vulnerability of our employment market. Given that employers' NI has been the stealth tax of choice for the current administration, any attempt to apply a further increase in next week's Budget will be highly damaging.

  • Comment number 50.

    The ONS stats also have a revealing picture of productivity in the economy which is woeful in comparison to our major competitors. Productivity in the US has improved massively by comparison as an example. Surely this means the UK is simply building up future unemployment if the economy doesn't grow to trend which nobody but the most optimistic believe it will. Certainly the Governments future growth figures are pure fantasy.

  • Comment number 51.

    Talking of wonky statistics, 20,000 applied for 60 posts with North Yorkshire police, not 200,000 as I said earlier. Still a lot of people applying, 333 per job.

  • Comment number 52.

    I love it. Unemployment is down people. Great !
    Oh but the number of people working is down ! Not so great.
    How is this paradox resolved ?
    Don;t worry. It's because people are economically inactive rather than unemployed. Marvellous !

  • Comment number 53.

    Yes, very pretty... Please feel free to feel as good as you want to be, because reality does not reflect this little bit of data.

    I am curious if anyone has the data of how many people have dropped out of the labour market - early retirement, gone back to education, become full-time parent and not in the market, 'too sick' to work, etc...

  • Comment number 54.

    Moderators out to lunch...

  • Comment number 55.

    These figures are indeed confusing, but maybe after the election we'll be told what the real figures are.

  • Comment number 56.

    Well - contrary to the suggestions made by Stephanie that conclusions are difficult to draw - here's some conclusions made in the Guardian!

    1. There are less people employed than at any time in the last 12 years

    The employment rate in the three months to January 2010 is 72.2% - it fell by 54,000 on the quarter to reach 28.86m.

    2. There are over 8m 'economically inactive' people in the UK

    8,157,000 people between 16 and retirement age to be exact - of whom 71% do not want a job. The biggest group are the 2.3m people looking after their families - up by 32,000 on the year. Next come students (2.3m) and the long-term sick (2m). 74,000 are 'discouraged' - up by 21,000 on the year.

    3. If you work in the private sector, wages are going down … in the public sector, they're going up

    Average weekly earnings in the private sector are £426 per week - down 0.7% on January 2009. In the public sector, they're higher - £461 per week, up 4.1% on Jan 2009.

    4. Public sector jobs are still going up

    6m people are employed in the public sector - +46,000 on the year. 21.1% of us work in the public sector. The biggest percentage increase has been in the NHS - up by 4% on the year to 1.6m people in January. In contrast, private sector employment is down by 527,000.

    5. The highest wages are in construction - the lowest in hotels and restaurants

    Construction workers get an average of £564 per week - compared to £303 for those who work in restaurants and hotels.

    6. There are more workers from the USA; less from Europe

    Employed workers from the EU14 countries - the rich European countries - are down by 26,000 on the year (-3.8%). Those from the new accession countries, such as Poland, have been hit less: down 3,000, or -0.7%. The biggest group going up are those from the USA - +25.6% (21,000 people), although India (+14,000) and Australia/New Zealand (+11%) have seen rises too.

    7. There are more long-term unemployed

    Those unemployed over six months has gone up by 58.7% to 549,000 people.

    8. More of us are part-time

    Part-time jobs are up - by 1.3% or 87,000 on the year. Meanwhile full-time employment has gone down by 3.4% (-642,000).

    9. There are less young people employed

    Employment is down for 16-17 year-olds (by 22.2% or 109,000) and 18-24 year-olds (down 6.6% or 237,000)


    So we can conclude the headline figure of falling unemployment is an absolute false or fantasy figure! The government have lost at least 50,000 people! And the truth is we all know unemployment in the UK is near 10m people!

    Oh and we also Know the Government cannot make reality disappear merely by ignoring it! They are just putting off the inevitable consequences of having a third of the working population NOT producing a penny toward our economy! While another third of those working are costing every taxpayer!
    Its not going to get much better is it either, because no one is addressing the problem - Just creating ever more imaginative methods to hide from reality! Brilliant - and soooo very depressing!

    Personally, my favourite 'fantasy' statistic is the self contradicting - number in employment shrinks by 54,000 while number of 'vacancies' goes up to 460,000!! But there is apparently another 150,000 people no longer looking for a job! And then they suggest people are turning to further education because they cannot find jobs! And there the 8m people who just don't want a job or have given up looking for these hard to find jobs! Well, apparently there are half a million of the little beauties out there somewhere! Must all be on the Shetland Isles or some such remote place!

    I would say - you couldn't make it up - but it seems obvious they HAVE!

  • Comment number 57.

    #27 wrote . "Quango's - oh you mean the one Thatcher created. As a neutral, Tories LOVE quango's. They love the central control they can give. A mantra followed by New Labour."

    If you add the removal of the credit "corset" in the early 80's and the push to privatise public sector housing funded by growth in privately funded mortgages (which opened the UK's doors to US style "securitised" mortgage lenders and the first UK mortgage backed securities) I suspect we can see where the roots of the current economic woes really lie!

  • Comment number 58.

    35. At 1:16pm on 17 Mar 2010, sumsdontaddup wrote:

    A very interesting blog, and I agree with the tax take bit.

    I will only believe that this recession is coming to an end when the tax take starts to show a significant improvement, without having to nail everyone to the wall with higher taxes.

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm more worried about the "quality" of jobs in the UK.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    The key words in this article are "the surprisingly sharp rise in January has been revised down". This inept Government has massaged and manipulated all the statistics on key matters since Mr Bliar entered No 10, and Gordie became Chancellor, to such an extent, that they are disappearing within their own spin. The comments made below range from "confusing" to "what is happening to the jobless". They have not gone away, just erased form the true figures.

  • Comment number 62.

    IN the US now there are calls for immediate spending cuts - usually from the foaming mouths of people appearing on Fox - however, over there they are saying "remember 1937". After cuts in federal spending the US economy nosedived after its recovery, not returning to its previous levels until 1941.

    What will the call be here? Remember 1983?

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    At 1:14pm on 17 Mar 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    "I think you're getting confused between 'wealth' and 'money'. For the public sector does produce wealth for the country, the private sector only produces wealth for individuals - and it does that unevenly."

    Please tell me - now that we don't have any nationalised industries - how on earth the public sector can produce 'wealth' at all? Where is the added value? The public sector is consuming and (re-)distributing the wealth created elsewhere (the private sector).

    Nobody thinks we should not have schools and hospitals, but how many administrators do we need for each front-line worker there? Organisations get less efficient and more top-heavy the larger they get - public or private. The question is how large, as a percentage of the economy, that public sector should be. I happened to live for some years in the (pre-collapse) Soviet Union, where ALL economic activity was state controlled. If you think you see public sector workers doing useless jobs here, you should have seen it then. The risk is that we are heading too far in that direction now.

  • Comment number 65.

    Unions will be kept busy for the next year or two as employers target wage bills and packaged benefits to save costs.
    In some quarters it will be a fight for survival for employers and employees alike. It's hard to believe there will not be more failures and redundancies to come before the economy and employment truly stabilises.
    And then there is the small matter of the UK debt mountain which seems to be the only thing that is growing at the moment. Hanging on to the tail of that tiger is not a job for the faint hearted and under prepared.
    That begs the question, should we as a country stall the election on the grounds the current economic predicament transcends politics. Is it fair and prudent to allow any new party to blindly enter a dragons den with a water pistol as the only means to put out the grandaddy of all financial fires.

  • Comment number 66.

    How many "Moderators" are employed to "moderate", and how much do they cost the Licence fee payers ?

  • Comment number 67.

    I am a self employed working Joe, and I remember the 1980's.
    I remember being on the dole like so many others.

    It almost feels like I've gone back in time to 1982.
    "Gizza job....I can do that."

    As regards the jobless figures, I don’t think most people believe them any more, and rightly so.

  • Comment number 68.

    Most of the contributions here are either "what happened to the unemployed" or that "the figures do not add up". The unemployment and employment figures should be subject to Audit by an impartial adjudicator. The MP's fiddled their expenses in a totally outrageous manner, what makes umemployment figures any different. I dare yopu to publish this contribution.

  • Comment number 69.

    #56 3. If you work in the private sector, wages are going down … in the public sector, they're going up

    Average weekly earnings in the private sector are £426 per week - down 0.7% on January 2009. In the public sector, they're higher - £461 per week, up 4.1% on Jan 2009.

    If you look at the small print, the "public sector" includes those employed by RBS and Llyods. I would certainly say, that even give that the chief exec and directors of a council are over paid, the vast numbers of staff on less than median wage means the average wage in the public sector is actually quite low.

  • Comment number 70.

    8.2 million working age people are economically inactive. And people wonder where Labour have spent the £1.2 trillion they have borrowed. Their proposals to get us out of the mess they have landed us in? Errrr...nothing. Why do people vote for them?

  • Comment number 71.

    Some longer term unemployed are being pushed, due to political pressures on Job centres, into the voluntary and charity sectors - so no or little pay, some travel expenses and of course, no long term prospects.
    You may already be aware that ins ome areas, after six months jobseekers were asked to re-register, causing job stats distortion.
    I guess its an election year, so anything for the job stats to "look good"?
    The reason so many are still being made unemployed is because of the tax-clawbacks against losses by employers and the pension 'rescue' fund. Accounting heaven

  • Comment number 72.

    Whilst entitlement to JSA is limited to the first six months of unemployment and witheld from those receiving an occupational pension and (I think) means tested as well, the unemployment numbers will not be comparable to historical ones.

    There is now, even no incentive to signing on to get NI stamps if you retire early because you only need 30 years to qualify for a full OAP. A conspiracy perhaps to keep 'unemployment' figures low?

  • Comment number 73.

    mangizmo; this was coment sums up what is wrong at the moment. The balance is wrong.

  • Comment number 74.

    I own a recruitment company, I can tell you that I, along with every single recruiter I know, can now tell you there is no resession. We have full order books, we need people to work for us, we have been advertising for graduates for months, none exsist!! The roles he have at the moment are Project managers etc.. this is good news - they are the first to go, first to come back. With every project manager comes money to spend, this will filter out. Three years (it hit us first) of terrible business over, room to be optomistic (finally!!)

  • Comment number 75.

    This is a more balanced report than your one yesterday Stephanie. It is true that unemployment and employment are falling which is a little curious. As earlier posters have pointed out I would be interested in how unemployment is defined as opposed to economically inactive!
    I have read today on notayesmanseconomics web blog that there are serious implications for our economic recovery in recent reports on the structure of the UK mortgage market and also the rises in fuel prices (which having just been out to an appointment I can confirm from garage prices in my area). Perhaps you might add those to your analysis particularly with consideration to your view on inflation.

  • Comment number 76.

    The more information I read about this financial crisis the more confused I become. None of the old models seem to work, we are in uncharted territory. Can somebody please have the courage to stand up and say "we don't know what the hell is happening?"

  • Comment number 77.

    I've got a degree from a reputable university, 3 years of own international business experience (Started at university), speaking 4 languages, able to compose music, create websites from scratch, any kind of graphic, video or audio editing/design. Struggling with my own business so I've been looking for a part time job. I applied for a position at one London store, went to the interview, when I asked how many people have applied for this position - they responded with a rather silly number: 7500. Friends, some with masters degrees can tell similar stories, most are not bothering to look for jobs anymore as it has become near impossible. For simple jobs they are over skilled, for public sector jobs they are under experienced.

    Three conclusions:
    1. Government is ego-tripping, unable to admit mistakes, let alone learn from them. Employment situation is not improving.
    2. Whatever happens next elections, this will not change. Both main parties are following the steps of Obama, they promise change yet they do not promise improvement (Obama has not even been able to deliver change in anything)
    3. The longer you ignore the leaking roof - the more damage it will cause when it crashes on top of you.
    4. Labour will stay in power, on teledebates brown will wipe the floor with Clegg and Cameron, Labour have created a goldmine for public sector workers who will vote labour. Not even a wolf bites the hand that feeds it.

    I predict riots. Greece will look like a tourist destination by comparison.

  • Comment number 78.

    No. 42

    Yes, but the BBC is pushing the government's message and following the agenda set by the government - I am sure that there are many of the less discerning who take the news at face value and assume that employment is improving.

    The BBC should exercise its independence and decide for itself what is the essential aspect of any news item, and not follow the agenda and headlines set by the government. The responses to this topic and remarks by some commentators suggest that the number employed is a more [unambiguous] relevant number than the almost meaningless number of unemployed.

  • Comment number 79.

    Figures don't lie but liars sure do figure. Soon the only job you will be able to get is working for and increasingly dependant on the Government. This makes it easier to control the population alongside the surveillance systems and monitoring of the population through the Big Brother technocracy. A lot of Public Sector jobs provide no value to society and are just the equivalent of rounding up the peasants and putting them in a work brigade to keep them off the streets.

  • Comment number 80.

    I can't see how the JSA figures are falling. I went on an agency website to look at a job that was going and 106 people had applied. Well if one person got this job then 105 were out of luck. With this amount for one technical job what about all the other vacancies agencies have. It's funny how a General Election is due and the figures suddenly go down. I wonder what the REAL figure for unemployment is, not some twisted figure conjored up by bureaucrats.

  • Comment number 81.

    if the net benefit of firing a public sector worker paid £25k is £2k then we're still better off without them. To the £2,000 figure you can add the economic relief of others not subject to their interference and probably another £25k in overheads and labour associated costs.

  • Comment number 82.

    64. At 2:17pm on 17 Mar 2010, Martin Rogers

    ...but Martin, isn't it because (as they did in the Soviet Union) they are not actually using the public sector to generate wealth, but are in fact using it to hide unemployment?

    The fact is that you can increase the public sector but you need to have a purpose to do so. When Keynes suggested Government take up the demand slack, he was thinking big road building projects, large land reforming, dam building etc. work with a purpose.

    I haven't seen a single 'grand project' except crossrail (which was already in the pipeline) and HSS2 (which is 7 years from starting).

    The Government will destroy the public sector by making it an extension to the dole - however this does not mean cutting the workforce and salary automatically makes it efficient, as some are suggesting.

  • Comment number 83.

    76. At 2:55pm on 17 Mar 2010, thelovelydr_john wrote:

    The more information I read about this financial crisis the more confused I become. None of the old models seem to work, we are in uncharted territory. Can somebody please have the courage to stand up and say "we don't know what the hell is happening?"

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Will Gordon Brown do

  • Comment number 84.

    74. At 2:54pm on 17 Mar 2010, Stephen wrote:

    "I own a recruitment company"


    ...and with that your validity of an honest opinion ends there.

    I can't trust you to explain a role to me without mentioning "It's a great forward thinking company with potential" - even though you've never even been there.

    Lying is your game I'm afraid, and now you're doing it to yourself. All recruitment agents claim the market has never been better - they're born to do so.

  • Comment number 85.

    Yawn...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 86.


    At the end of the day we are in 'phoney war' territory with regard to dealing with the deficit and everything else.

    Like a football crowd arguing about the outcome before the match has even kicked off.

    The landscape and language will change dramatically after the next government has formed.

  • Comment number 87.

    24. At 12:59pm on 17 Mar 2010, Vic Singh wrote:

    ...I work in construction, and I can already see good signs. First time buyers are actually buying property. That is always a good sign. What is different, we are not seeing as many speculators (which can only be a good thing)...

    That strikes me as a bad sign. We are clearly in a bull trap now, and while I would dearly hope it is speculators who end up holding the parcel when the music stops, it saddens me to think it might be first time buyers, desperately trying to grasp that bottom rung.

  • Comment number 88.

    As a public sector worker I can assure everyone I'm far from overpaid, work long hours in the office, slave over a laptop in the evenings, have a modest home in an unfashionable part or the Midlands, a demanding wife, adult son that won't/can't leave home, two hungry cats and now two jobs for the price of one following a colleague's move to pastures new and the policy of zero recruitment.

    If the public sector is the only wealth creating enterprise in Britain how about a radical idea. Nationalise everything, EVERYTHING, then share the wealth through everyone working for the same social goals with all profit going to state subsidy of services. Hang on a minute - that's Communism isn't it? Well, if capitalism isn't working........

  • Comment number 89.

    74. At 2:54pm on 17 Mar 2010, Stephen wrote:
    I own a recruitment company, I can tell you that I, along with every single recruiter I know, can now tell you there is no resession. We have full order books, we need people to work for us, we have been advertising for graduates for months, none exsist!! The roles he have at the moment are Project managers etc.. this is good news - they are the first to go, first to come back. With every project manager comes money to spend, this will filter out. Three years (it hit us first) of terrible business over, room to be optomistic (finally!!)

    Stephen, please could you tell me what area you are in, maybe London and South East. My daughter and her friends may have a better chance of finding work there cos North of England has been hit hard by this recession, similar to the 1980s. London always seems to do better because it has so many service industries and the financial sector although even that has reduced in size. London is such a horribly expensive place to live, even living in a shoe box, unless you are a banker. 2 bed Terrace house in Bradford about £60K, London about 5 times as much, about £200K. Great scenery and fresh air in north of UK, but not so many jobs, which has applied for many years now.

  • Comment number 90.

    A lot of people still consider them selves as 'unemployed' even if they have got themselve into a job. We are taking whatever jobs we can get rather than accept the JSA £65. I am looking at £6.5/hr warehouse picking jobs where previously I have been a manager for a manufacturing company. We continually see jobs at 'meets the minimum wage' £5.83? they know people will take whatever they can.
    I was looking at a postmans job, plenty of excercise and fresh air (warehouse work?)minimum wage for a 6-2 shift.
    Nothing against warehouse work but am I taking other peoples jobs who normally do this and it fits in with there life and costs?
    The gap is getting bigger the rich and the not rich. Cost are still going up, why? if they kept costs down demand would increase, volume required would increase manufacturing companies would employ more people they could then afford to buy things and put taxes back into the economy.
    So many issues while greed still exists.

  • Comment number 91.

    "This is not the UK labour market of old: the headline unemployment numbers are moving with the economy, not lagging far behind as they have in the past. " (Ms Flanders)


    ""One word sums up the latest official jobs figures: confusing," said Dr John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). "

    Perhaps we need to re-examine the data we collect and collect addtional data if need be.

    A better definition of unemployed is someone who needs a job and cannot get one. This will include reluctant students and people who don't bother with the Jobcentre.

    Unemployment statistics have always been spun to death.

    So total unemployed = total people needing work minus total people working.

  • Comment number 92.

    So, let me get this right. On the day when official figures reveal that an astonishing 8.16 million of our fellow citzens are now 'economically inactive' and when that rate is now 21.5 per cent of the working age population - the highest since records first began in 1971, good old BBC decides that all is looking quite rosy!

  • Comment number 93.

    69. At 2:36pm on 17 Mar 2010, John Ruddy wrote:
    ///#56 3. If you work in the private sector, wages are going down … in the public sector, they're going up

    Average weekly earnings in the private sector are £426 per week - down 0.7% on January 2009. In the public sector, they're higher - £461 per week, up 4.1% on Jan 2009.

    If you look at the small print, the "public sector" includes those employed by RBS and Llyods. I would certainly say, that even give that the chief exec and directors of a council are over paid, the vast numbers of staff on less than median wage means the average wage in the public sector is actually quite low.///

    I seriously do not think they do add any bank into the public sector figure? Please direct us to the proof of this! And while these are 'averaged' figures - do still provide a clear indicator of where all our money is going! How ridiculous that those 'generating' real value to the capitalist economy with potential export etc are paid less than public sector workers! Its just strange - and a little unnerving really. It makes no sense unless you accept the premise that at some point over the last decades our society morphed into some kind of neo-communist state - we just didn't notice the 'change'! Wow Blair and Brown truly were the socialist masterminds after all - Had all you capitalists totally fooled hay!

  • Comment number 94.

    at 84. How offensive? How dare you call me a liar. You do not know me, nor do you understand what I do. It would be like me saying something about the "unemployed". Which I would never do, because I unlike you, I am not an idiot. You should not generalise and unless you have something to say (that adds to the discussion), probably best you keep your opinions to yourself.

  • Comment number 95.

    Regardless of the official statistics, a trawl of the job adverts gives a good indication of what's happening (trawling where the jobs are is a good way of finding out who is expanding and therefore may need building work).

    The numbers of adverts are now on the rise in the Midlands. There are many more jobs at most levels appearing in Logistics and Construction, but the rate is still below that in early 2008 by about 20%. There are a lot more sales jobs appearing, but sorry I don't have stats on 2007. For the guy earlier in IT, jobs are now on the up, rising by 20% over the last 3 months.

    Most are permanent roles. This is still imbalanced as the temporary market seems to be picking up slower, but it implies a confidence in companies to go permanent

    This is not an onward-ho posting.
    But it does seem like there is a gradual easing.

    However, long-term unemployment and underemployment are rising at rates that are unsustainable in social terms (but not of course in terms of cost to taxpayer cos long term unemployed are eased out of all JSA and benefits). This is also interesting as it shows that the 'new deal' program is a failure, and that is costing taxpayers quite a bit...

  • Comment number 96.

    74. At 2:54pm on 17 Mar 2010, Stephen wrote:
    ///I own a recruitment company, I can tell you that I, along with every single recruiter I know, can now tell you there is no resession. We have full order books, we need people to work for us, we have been advertising for graduates for months, none exsist!! The roles he have at the moment are Project managers etc.. this is good news - they are the first to go, first to come back. With every project manager comes money to spend, this will filter out. Three years (it hit us first) of terrible business over, room to be optomistic (finally!!)////


    Well its nice to hear its 'working' for you! But have you actually 'placed' any candidates in full-time permanent posts? I suspect the answer is a resounding NO! All temp or fixed contracts! And where are all these jobs anyhow - bet mostly are in London? Yes?

  • Comment number 97.

    at 90, True we are in London, but we are building a team to open an office in Leeds and had 60 jobs called in yesterday from Middlesborough. All the FS companies we work with have offices all over the UK they are happy for people to be based in Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh etc.. The change has been rapid, but is not a one off!!

  • Comment number 98.

    #90
    "The gap is getting bigger the rich and the not rich. Cost are still going up, why? if they kept costs down demand would increase, volume required would increase manufacturing companies would employ more people they could then afford to buy things and put taxes back into the economy.
    So many issues while greed still exists"

    ==================================================================

    The system ain't working

    The system is broke - so fix it

    We need new 'rules of engagement'

    Unfortunately the system is working, the system ain't broke for the only people who 'really matter' - the banking class and our corrupt (still not dealt with by the way) political class.

  • Comment number 99.

    86. At 3:24pm on 17 Mar 2010, Richard Dingle wrote:

    ///At the end of the day we are in 'phoney war' territory with regard to dealing with the deficit and everything else.

    Like a football crowd arguing about the outcome before the match has even kicked off.

    The landscape and language will change dramatically after the next government has formed.///


    I think the analogy is not correct - if this is a football match it finished a couple of years ago when the economy went for a dive into the abyss! We are most definitely still at the bottom of a very dark place! The match was called off with 5 mins left because a massive earthquake completely destroyed the pitch! Everything since has just been a rescue mission - but with the most incompetent rescue teams imaginable and no rescue equipment!The election will not change any of those teams! Oh and it will get worse this year - no matter what the official statistics pretend is happening! Smoke mirror spin and lies! they are just the finest tools of the mystic preachers! If a conclusion seems odd - check the premises and check them again - you will always find the inconsistency hidden in the irrational or illogical manipulations of reality and statistics!

  • Comment number 100.

    As I am almost at the end of my 26 weeks of JSA I will stop being unemployed shortly. It is interesting to realise that as the economy does eventually recover many people in my position may fall below the savings levels that decide who is not employed or not seeking work. It is therefore possible that "unemployment figures" have the potential to increase without any job losses by 3 million. The 3 million is roughly the increase in those "not seeking worK" in the last couple of years.

 

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