Unemployment double official government statistics

3rd August 2015 / United Kingdom

The government does not like issuing bad news – it’s not good for them. Unemployment is one of those areas of bad news that needs all sorts of tactics to give the impression that policies are working. Of course, numbers can be manipulated to reach all sorts of conclusions, and they are.

According to the Official Labour Market Statistics – There are 62,756,000 people living in the UK of which, 39,865,000 are aged between 16 and 65. There are 31,965,000 in total who are ‘economically active’ and 30,166,000 registered as working, leaving 1,799,000 out of work. That is nearly 1.8million who are officially fit, able and currently looking for work.

However, there are nearly 9 million who are ‘economically inactive’. Taking out students, those who are family carers, those retired under the age of 65 and long-term sick, you still have another 3,635,700 unemployed and inactive. Stripping that down further and only including those who are ‘temporarily sick’, ‘discouraged’ and ‘other’ equals 1,086,700 who are unemployed.

These people could easily be added to the unemployed number of 1.8 million. Even the official labour market statistics admits that of the ‘economically inactive’, 2.2 million want a job.

However, the TUC has gone one step further having just pointed out that the total number of people looking for work is more than double the official unemployment rate.

A recent TUC analysis of unemployment data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals how official figures fail to provide an accurate picture of all people seeking work.

Official figures only take into account the number of people who have recently applied for a job and whom are available to start work immediately. It fails to account for ‘economically inactive’ jobseekers who ‘want work’ but haven’t recently applied for a job, or whose circumstances mean they are unable to make an immediate start.

According to TUC’s analysis of the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the number of economically inactive people who want work fell by 73,000 between Jan-Mar 2012 and Jan-Mar 2015. However, the number of economically inactive women who want work increased from 1,363,000 to 1,379,000 over the same period.

Meanwhile, the headline unemployment figure fell by more than 800,000, from 2,633,000 to 1,827,000.

Whilst the official unemployment rate is higher for men than women, the reverse is true for economically inactive people who are seeking work. The official unemployment rate for men is 990,000 and for women it is 815,000. However, the TUC says there are 1,379,000 economically inactive women seeking work, compared to just 920,000 men.

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Combining both the official unemployment count AND the number of economically inactive people seeking work, the TUC reveals that a total of 4,103,000 people want a job – more than double the official unemployment figure. Of these, 2,194,000 are women and 1,910,000 are men.

The actual unemployment rate in the UK, according to the organisation that represents 6 million working people and 51 unions is therefore 10.4 per cent. The government, representing themselves says that number is 5.6 per cent.



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