Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down

Today’s unemployment figures show the labour market has stood up to the recession much more strongly than in the past, with vacancies up and redundancies down.

Today’s unemployment figures show that the labour market has stood up to the recession much more strongly than in the past, but that the prospects for the remainder of 2010 remain highly uncertain. As ever, the combination of different measures and different time periods makes drawing firm conclusions about what’s going on part rigorous analysis, part sticking your finger in the air.

International Labour Organisation (ILO) unemployment fell by 3,000 between October and December, compared to the previous quarter (that’s pretty much a statistical dead heat). Conversely, the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose by 23,500 in January, following two monthly falls. The post Christmas period is always a tough time for jobs, so a rise was to be expected.

We’re almost certain to see a similar trend on the ILO measure once the data for the new year feeds through into the published figures.

Looking back to what was happening this time last year underlines that the labour market is now in a far better state than it was then. The February 2009 stats showed a 73,000 rise in the JSA rate and a 146,000 jump in ILO unemployment.

Today’s numbers on vacancies and redundancies – the former up and the latter down – clearly shows we have turned a corner:

Beneath the headline figures the mixed picture continues. Youth unemployment fell again, by 13,000 on the quarter, but the number out of work for over a year rose by 37,000 during the same period. There are now 663,000 people long term unemployed, making the need for a job guarantee scheme even more pressing.

With private sector demand still weak and a public sector squeeze on the horizon, the prospects for job growth – rather than flat line – remains highly uncertain. Surely this is not the time to be withdrawing government support from the economy?

The Department for Work and Pensions has also released statistics on inactive benefits, which include preliminary figures showing that the number of people on disability benefits fell during the year to 2009. If these numbers are verified it would be the real story of the recession – preventing people becoming permanently detached from the world of work, which was the devastating and long term consequence of the last two recessions

One final word on the ridiculous story being promoted by the Tories on Jobcentre Plus today. The efforts of Jobcentre Plus and its staff are one of the biggest, if quietest, success stories of the recession. Of course there have been problems in ramping up numbers of staff and extra help for people looking for work.

But what would the Tories suggest instead? Not putting in the extra money and support despite the number of people on JSA doubling? Actually, come to think of it, that’s exactly what they suggest.

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17 Responses to “Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down”

  1. Philip Painter

    RT @leftfootfwd: Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down:

  2. Shamik Das

    Analysis of labour market stats: RT @leftfootfwd: Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down:

  3. Jessica Asato

    RT @leftfootfwd Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down:

  4. Tyler

    A few more highlights from the ONS report, not mentioned above.

    “The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (the claimant count) increased by 23,500 between December 2009 and January 2010 to reach 1.64 million, the highest figure since April 1997”

    “The number of inactive people of working age increased by 72,000 over the quarter to reach a record high of 8.08 million”

    Lets not forget that there are now approx 400k people unemployed now than when Labour came to power in 1997, and that is despite the state hiring best part of 1 million new employees over that time.

    Great job Gordo. High unemployment, high debt, high Tax, and still no growth.

  5. Tim Worstall

    “Looking back to what was happening this time last year underlines that the labour market is now in a far better state than it was then. ”

    Err, no, it doesn’t. It shows that the state is deteriorating less quickly.

    Think it through…the additions to JSA etc are exactly that, additions. Not the absolute rate. The absolute rate describes the state, the additions the change in that state.

  6. Recent labour market data much better than could have been expected | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

    […] and the ongoing rise in levels of involuntary part-time and temporary work. On the other hand, vacancies are up significantly (49,000), youth unemployment contines to fall (13,000), redundancies are also going […]

  7. Graeme

    Tyler – my post included the 23,500 rise in JSA. The rise in overall inactivity is largely because there are more students. The number to focus on is inactive benefit claims, which has barely risen. Unemployment has risen a lot – not surprising if GDP falls by six per cent.

    Tim – I am thinking it through (thanks for the advice). My point was that in early 2009 all the indicators were going in the wrong direction, very quickly, whereas now they are all either stable, slightly improving or slightly deteriorating. I infer from that that the labour market is in a better place than it was (ie current performance is better). Clearly the situation remains very uncertain – both because unemployment remains high and the trends are volatile.

  8. Ellie Gellard

    RT @leftfootfwd Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down:

  9. Matthew Zarb-Cousin

    RT @BevaniteEllie: RT @leftfootfwd Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down:

  10. LabourguyUK

    RT @BevaniteEllie: RT @leftfootfwd Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down:

  11. Dave

    Unemployment down to end dec (seasonal Christmas jobs) JSA up in jan ! doesn’t take much to work out all the seasonal jobs are going which is why JSA numbers going up so real unemployment is going up, thanks gordon!!!

  12. Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down « Scott LaPlant

    […] Latest unemployment figures show vacancies up and redundancies down from Left Foot Forward […]

  13. Notes of caution on unemployment…. « Moments of Clarity

    […] claim that this shows ‘labour market resiliance’, as advanced on Left Foot Forward, is also shot to pieces by a) the number of ‘underemployed’ and b) the very depressed […]

  14. Fab 5: Wednesday 17 February 2010 | The Young Fabians Blog

    […] New unemployment figures out today, showing a slight decline in the number of people classed as unemployed. Stephanie Flanders, the BBC’s Economics editor, looks at the divide between the experience of public and private sector workers. Left Foot Forward’s Graeme Cook has also analysed the figures. […]

  15. The Debt Collector

    What people have forgotten is that a year unemployed people go from Job Seekers Allowance to Income Support. Those on Income Support are not included in the Unemployment figure. So another piece of creative accounting by the Government (Incidentally created by Thatcher in the early 80’s to fool people in to beleiving that Unemployment was falling). Indeed since 1979, there have been at least 6 redefinitions of unemployed; spookily enough always reducing the figure.

    Going to my local Job-Centre+ yesterday, the queue was half way down the street. The longest I have seen it in a long time. I have employment issues due to epilepsy which causes problems with employers and travels, together with areas in which I can work.

    Whilst walking down the High Street to the Job Centre the following original big name stores were vacant possession. Woolworths, Anglia Television, Allders. Three small, but longstanding department stores, one of which had been running for over 120 years, before it closed. A number of small retail outlets in what was once a fully populated shopping mall.

    On the employment front, we have lost three major manufactuers, with the third now operating at 15% or its capacity of 25 years ago. Two of those employers operated 24 hours on a four shift, 7 day basis. A lot of staff for a medium size town, (although technically a City as we have a small Cathederal).

    In fact the volume of commuter traffic to London has become so great and concentrated, their are occasions when the public have to be held in the ticket hall, to prevent people being pushed on the tracks. The down-line platform has now been made in to a two-way operation, with one 12 coach train comming up empty from a siding.
    That train is full, with people standing before it has left the platform.

    I am sure that there are many towns on the periphory of large City Centres are seeing the same trend. So much for an improving unemployment position, and rising ecconomic climate.

    Even in my job as a debt collector, I am finding it difficult to find work (yes, honestly) because the banks are making firms Bankrupt and placing them in to Liquidation so fast, the COurts can’t keep up with the applications. A simple hearing date can now take up to 3 months to be set down. Most of the telephone collections work has gone overseas, to places where they have no understanding of our law, or procedures. And of course speaking English as a forein language. Indeed I have been told by people who I have met in pubs that the Credit Card Companies particularly have now moved to totally automated collections, where the telephone number of the debtor is automatically dialed, and a computer generated voice asks the Debtor to return the call of the Creditor.

    In the latter case, that is cheeky, because it means the Debtor is effectively paying for the cost of work which should be at the cost of the Creditor. Of course the irony there is that the person who is likely to be already in financial difficulties, may not have enough Credit on their phone to return the call!

    It seems that the entire Country has forgotten how to talk to eachother, the humans who you do get to talk to are reading from a cue card, and probably not know a debit from a credit if it smacked them in the face.

    Many educated people no longer see a future in this Country, as are an increasing number of skilled and semi-skilled people. We have become a nation of button pushers.

    WOuld te last person to leave the UK, please turn out the lights.


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