The Tory sleight of hand over ‘1.1 million more’ private sector jobs

Just under a fifth of the coalition's 'million new jobs' are the result of the reclasification of further education and sixth form college teachers as private sector employees.

David Cameron 3-JPEG

David Cameron likes to boast that his government has created over a million private sector jobs since 2010.

The Prime Minister has made the claim in the commons during PMQs, and yesterday it was once again made by chairman of the Conservative party Grant Shapps in an article entitled ‘Five simple messages for the doorstep this Christmas‘.

“We are cutting taxes for British businesses, helping to create jobs. Overall, 1.1 million more people are now working compared to the election,” Shapps boasted, accompanying his post with the following graph:

Million jobs

The first thing one notices about the graph is the large jump in private sector jobs seemingly created in April 2012, just short of two years after the coalition came to office. Perhaps on seeing this graph you, like me, were wondering what accounted for this encouraging surge in private sector employment last year. What innovative (and clearly successful) policy did the coalition introduce which created so many jobs so quickly?

They didn’t, is the answer, because the large increase in private sector employment seen in April 2012 was actually nothing of the sort, but rather was due to the reclasification of 196,000 public sector jobs to private sector ones. In reality, just under a fifth of the coalition’s ‘million new jobs’ are actually the result of the reclasification of further education and sixth form college teachers as private sector employees.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) made this clear last year when it said:

“These educational bodies employed 196,000 people in March 2012 and the reclassification therefore results in a large fall in public sector employment and a corresponding large increase in private sector employment between March and June 2012.”

Million jobs

Claiming the government has created a ‘million new jobs’ relies on a completely dishonest interpretation of the figures. Especially making the same claim repeatedly even after it’s been pointed out as wrong by no less than the ONS.

And this from a party which in opposition regularly accused Labour of twisting the statistics to suit its own agenda.

19 Responses to “The Tory sleight of hand over ‘1.1 million more’ private sector jobs”

  1. Peter Wild

    Well even IDS thinks Shapps / Green is a liar, so we shouldn’t trust his word on this..

    The massaging of employment figures happens under all governments. However, what no one seems to mention is that official figures exclude people being sanctioned, on mandatory volunteering, or who seek work, but cannot claim to due to savings or partner income. This also assumes that there are no people in ESA-WRAG seeking some kind of work (either through volition or threat). Also not mentioned in the gap between the ONS estimates of vacancies and the overall unemployment figure, however crude a measure that is. About for times as many official job seekers per vacancy if I recall from eye balling yesterday’s figures…

    I suspect Labour won’t push this point as they will make the same arguments and play the same tricks if they get in government again.

  2. Sparky

    The are fewer unemployed now than when Labour left office. Inflation is less than half what it was when Labour left office. Consumer confidence was at a six year high in Sept -higher than when Labour left office. If I was James Bloodworth I would stop posting articles like these -Labour has lost the argument on the economy.

  3. Ady

    What was the large jump when the Cons got into power a result of?

  4. Ady

    @sparky, as in the late eighties the confidence is wafer thin and it will all come crashing down and back into recession when the artificially created property bubble bursts. The only hope for Tories is that this confidence is enough to win them the election and that the bubble does not burst prematurely.

  5. Timmy2much

    This is a typical political ploy used across all information and by all parties – it is about time that how this data is collated is taken out of political hands and set in stone because it is impossible to look at any political data from the past 30 years and draw any truly meaningful information from it.

  6. Kevin Leonard

    There are actually more unemployed as once again the coalition manipulate the figures by taking out those on “Workfare”(modern slavery to enhance the private sector) and Sanctions which have increased daily to remove even more from the figures. As for the premise that labour have lost the argument? the January figures will see a dramatic fall back in employment and once the credit card bills hit the end of the month confidence will be knocked out of the ballpark, How anyone can support a lying fraudulent despicable shower willing to have the deaths of the poor sick and disabled on their hands as collateral damage to augment an ideological stance is beyond me But we live in a free country and each and every single adult is allowed to be stupid once in their life.

  7. Vicky Upton

    You are so very ill informed Sparky. You have believed the C**P that is coming from their falsification on the unemployment records. There are so many people that have dissapeared due to sanctions forced upon the sick and disabled, there fore we cease to exist, until we win our tribunal appeals, which we are doing fast and furious….. So please take time to read and think about what this Rich and so called Biased Government is doing to fellow citizens, that is without what they are doing to the elderly and less fortunate. Shame on you and shame on anyone else that is sanctioning what this Government is doing to it’s people.

  8. bookmanwales

    All the employment / unemployment figures released have been wrong and downright lies.
    Every release has failed the test of even basic maths.
    If we believe the the figures issued and that employment is at an all time high how come the official unemployment figures have barely moved ?
    In 2010 the unemployment figure was 2.52 million, in Dec 2013 the unemployment figure is 2.47 million a change of just 50,000.
    According to the DWP releases every quarter has shown a huge increase in the number of employed people ?? SO, WHERE DID THEY COME FROM ??
    The only other group these extra workers could have come from (if not the unemployed ) is the “economically inactive” in other words people who are not looking for work. This group also has seen no significant fall since 2010 8.92 million in 2010 8.9 million in 2013 around 20,000.
    So can someone please tell me where the extra million plus people have appeared from to lead to this massive increase in overall employment ?? How has unemployment fallen for the last 5 quarters yet remains virtually the same ???
    One extremely confused guy here !!!

  9. Sparky

    You might reflect upon the fact that at the last election, 59% of voters voted either Conservative or Lib Dem. 29% of voters voted Labour. In other words, twice as many people rejected Left wing policies as wanted them. So it’s a myth to say that Labour are the ‘people’s party’ and that only rich ‘fat cats’ and the ‘1%’ vote Tory. It patently isn’t true on the facts. ‘Ordinary’ people in their millions rejected Labour. This huge groundswell of outraged popular opinion that you believe will rise up and sweep Labour back to power only exists on sites like this.

    By the way, your understanding of economic statistics is incorrect. Unemployment figures are seasonally adjusted so fluctuations due to Christmas employment are already factored into the January figures. Similarly with consumer confidence. Factors such as how well-off people feel due to credit card bills from Christmas are irrelevant since the Jan figures are compared to the Jan last year.

  10. TM

    Because of the first rule of politics: lie!!!

  11. Brett Snelling

    Totally wrong sparky …. the choice was between right wing policies and even more right wing policies ,,, no left wing policies featured in the last election. Ordinary people in their millions didn’t have a Labour Party to vote for. In fact they still don’t. Oh and by the way your economic understanding is also flawed as you actually seem to believe the figures

  12. TM

    The large jump was people jumping off any nearest cliff presumably.

  13. TM

    ‘…. the choice was between right wing policies and even more right wing policies ,,, no left wing policies featured in the last election. Ordinary people in their millions didn’t have a Labour Party to vote for. In fact they still don’t.’ That just about sums up British politics.

  14. Sparky

    Have you ever wondered why no left wing policies of the kind you seek are offered?

  15. Fabian Vanham

    Because disenfranchised voters stay away from the polling booths at elections? the turnout was 65% at the last general election. Not that a bandwagon fallacy validates your argument anyway, the fact remains that the government are manipulating the figures through including those on unpaid placements as well as the use of sanctions, as well as the aforementioned means in the article. Not to mention a large number of the other jobs created are part time.

  16. Sparky

    If there really was a vast body of underground left wing supporters just waiting in the wings to sweep a left party to power, then parties would be fighting over themselves to offer those policies. The Labour Party doesn’t offer them because they realised in the 1990s that such policies are so niche that they make whoever offers them unelectable. That’s why they moved over to the right. It’s simply supply and demand.

    Governments have always manipulated statistics to suit their ends. That fact is accepted by everyone and is factored in by financial markets in their reaction to economic news. What matters therefore in trying to establish the truth of the underlying trend of economic statistics is how markets react to economic news. I know you probably loathe everything to do with financial markets, thinking that it’s all Gordon Gekko and champagne lunches, but out in the real world it’s market reaction to news that drives capital inflows, exchange rates, investment and hedging decisions by business.

    Some of the comments on this page really are infantile: to say something like ‘consumer confidence will dive in January because of Christmas credit card bills’ demonstrates no understanding of how the stats are compiled or how they analysed.
    .

  17. TM

    Yeah, you’ve got a point. I have actually wondered that many times. You agree that in all healthy democracies there has to be effective opposition? That’s the point I am trying to make. Not everything the Right say is wrong, nor everything the Left say is right, but at the moment we seem to be a little out of balance. Democracy is compromise, not steamrollering people with opposing views.

  18. Andrew Wood

    If what you say is true, you seem to miss the point that the 196,000 public sector workers quoted were not, therefore, put out of work. You can’t “mathematically” reduce the number of jobs created in the private sector due to this revelation, without allowing for a corresponding increase in jobs in the public sector. Either there was movement of the workforce or there wasn’t.

  19. Fabian Vanham

    Not so much ‘manipulate’ as deliberately misinterpret. Saying that everybody lies doesn’t mean it’s okay to do so, that’s effectively trying to legitimise a race to the bottom in integrity.

    You talk as if accurate, independent statistical data isn’t available, which is simply untrue.

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