ONS Employment figures October 2015

Employment – You've Never Had it So Good

Apologies to Harold Macmillan for using his quote slightly out of context: I have not written about employment figures for 3 years but as the latest numbers from the ONS show some of the biggest changes in employment numbers in nearly 50 years then it would seem that today would be a good day to impart the wonderful news,(and the sun is out which always makes things look better).

Without further ado and straight in at number 1:

Employment Rate

1.The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 73.6%, or 31.12 million, the highest since comparable records began in 1971 and up from 70.5% or 29.23 in May 2012 an increase of 3.1% if you believe the ONS but if you believe me then the difference is, after rounding up 6.47% . I did try looking for that comparable figure from 1971 but gave up looking as I could not find it. Interesting that the general press have seemingly just printed what the ONS have given them, which didn’t help my search.

Regardless of political bias, that is impressive. I think. But then I found an article from 1972 which covered the public anger of unemployment rising above 1 million under the Teddy Heath Government, for the first time since the 1930’s which then made we think that (dependent on numbers of people available for and population, that the current employment figures are rubbish in the larger scheme of things ie the last 100 years. But because of political posturing we never get to hear this kind of information anymore, which I feel is a shame. Ultimately, the figures are what they are, and a decrease in unemployment is good news but if this was a school report then you would be justified in saying “room for improvement” and must try harder.

Unemployment Rate

2.There were 1.77 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work). In May 2012, there were 2.63 million unemployed. That’s impressive! A massive 32% drop on the swingometer.

I’m not going to dissect this number as after the debacle of the headline winning employment rate I just don’t believe the effort is worth the reward of not actually having a clue about what the truth of it all is. I suppose the beautiful takeaway from my statement is that nobody really knows what is going on but things do seem to be getting better. The ONS have told us so and Government has also reiterated the point.

Who am I to argue with such high authority?

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Paris Brown Twitter Remarks Cost Job

Paris Brown – The things kids say

Paris Brown, forced to resign from her employment as Britain’s first youth police commissioner, will be remembered for the added dubious distinction of making choice remarks on Twitter in what were still her formative years. Apparently. Although the word on the “street” is that quite a few choice remarks were made in the last 6 months and not just between the ages of 14 and 16. But what of it and what can the rest of us learn from the story?

An obvious conclusion is not to write anything that is, or could be construed as, confrontational on a social network. That is simplistic enough solution for anyone over the age of 40 but what of the population below this age? The “youth of today”, consider the Social Networks a place to dump a plethora of inane remarks for the legions of “friends” to respond to in an equally if not superior example of banality. I’m not going to defend any remarks that are made on Twitter or Facebook, but my instinct coupled with a little introspective consideration suggest that people in glass houses should not throw stones as only the truly righteous will have no skeletons in the closet.

Every generation is the same, there is nothing new under the sun, but the difference for those of us old enough to remember the days before the commercial internet, and this should be seen as pre 1990, will remember that you could say what you wanted (free speech) within reason, without running the risk of losing your job or having your collar felt by the police. As a general rule of thumb teenagers are reckless, feckless beings. Or are they just full of the spirit of youth, brimming with carefree abandon? I would say it’s both. In the instance of Paris, if you scrape past the broad brush of the media and look at the remarks they could be considered zeitgeist generalisations, a crass stereo typical identifier labelling by a kid. She was wrong but in a realm where only a peer group is invited, sometimes the parents can be considered caught sleeping on the job.

But could she prove to be the start of a pivotal moment in the history of social networking? As someone that has learnt from taking the hard path, she would do well to take the blows, stand tall, and turn her lesson into one that can be shared for the common good. She made a mistake, and she should now be allowed to make amends as ambassador for reasonable, acceptable behaviour.

For the rest of us, we should ingest the lesson quickly, or the forfeit could be equally catastrophic for career aspirations. There are ways for everyone to protect themselves from scrutiny, and if your subconscious can not be trusted (a word to the wise – it can’t), then maybe you should consider an exercise in pertinency and perform a social network purge?

Twitter and Facebook are seen as a visible statement of consciousness by a generation. A place where controversy is the king maker, audacity a crown prince but in every court there is a fool, and in the land of the blind the one eyed girl could be Queen.

May Unemployment figures shows a quarterly fall of 45,000

More to follow once ONS provide data sheet and in the interim here is a very nice interactive graph of unemployment by regions:

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.5 per cent for January-March 2012, up 0.2 on the quarter. There were 29.23 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 105,000 on the quarter. The quarterly increase in employment was entirely due to more part-time workers.

The unemployment rate was 8.2 per cent of the economically active population for January-March 2012, down 0.2 on the quarter. There were 2.63 million unemployed people, down 45,000 on the quarter.

The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 23.0 per cent for January-March 2012, down 0.1 on the quarter. There were 9.25 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 35,000 on the quarter.

For January-March 2012, total pay (including bonuses) rose by 0.6 per cent on a year earlier. This is the lowest growth rate since March-May 2009 and it is down 0.5 on the three months to February 2012. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.6 per cent on a year earlier, unchanged on the three months to February 2012.

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Unemployment Falls

Good news – unemployment falls
Bad news – Only by 0.1%

The coalition has driven some tough measures forward to try and get the country back on an even footing. A subjective and divisive statement if ever there was one. I see the pain that it is causing but I remember the past just as clearly and the benefit of hindsight is that if we can stick with it, everyone will benefit, eventually. I have concerns that the truly vulnerable might,will, or are, falling between the cracks of welfare policy and I think more work needs to be done on providing a funnel for this demographic to be filtered and aided correctly.

Factoring unemployment statistics. If you play with a figure long enough it can be construed as something it may not be. It still remains the same number but the factoring of the figure will tell you a different story;

Welfare Benefits Cut and constrained
Age of Retirement increased
Seasonal Adjustment
Part Time Work increasing
Full Time Work decreasing

Conclusion? There is a definitely a trend occurring but like everything else, interpretation is down to you.
Here are some other trends:

1992 – 2012 Year on year unemployment statistics:

2,000,040 Average number of people unemployed over the period to date (Feb 2012)

970,000 Largest fall in unemployment in a Paliamentry term (Conservative, Major February 93 – May 97)

390,000 Largest fall in unemployment in one year (Conservative, Major, February 94 – May 95)

440,000 Largest increase in one year (Labour, Brown, January 08 – January 09)

1,400,000 Lowest number of unemployed (Labour, Blair, September & October 2004)

410,000 Fastest Rise in unemployment (Labour, Brown, January – July 2009)

1,200.000 Largest negative change in one term (Labour Blair/Brown May 05 – May 10)

But as we all know, figures are subjective and the term, Unemployment, needs to addressed. The coalition intends to give the UK a breakdown of tax spend as part of the vehicle of openness. What I see is further opportunity to explore what has been adjusted a multitude of times. We can but hope.

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