The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens

Contrary to the Express's claims that 98% of new jobs go to "foreigners", 50.3% of the jobs created since 1997 have been taken by Britons - 1,375,000 positions.

Additional reporting by Left Foot Forward’s Nicola Smith, senior policy officer at the TUC

Today the Express (using data published by the Spectator) has claimed 98 per cent of jobs created in the UK since 1997 been taken by migrant workers, leading the Conservatives to state that:

“British workers [are] in a worse position than when Labour took office 13 years ago.”

This conclusion is significantly wrong.

An analysis (figures can be downloaded from the ONS) that considers all jobs in the UK, and is broken down by nationality not by country of birth, shows a very different picture – finding that 50.3 per cent of the jobs created since 1997 have been taken by UK nationals (around 1,375,000 positions), and that employment rates for UK nationals remain at the same level they were in 1997 – despite the sharpest global downturn since the 1920s.

In contrast, the analysis that has been used by the Spectator:

Conflates “non-UK born” with “nationality” – there are many (around 1,432,000) non-UK born British nationals, excluding them from the analysis is to exclude five per cent of the UK labour force.

Excludes UK workers over state pension age – a method that excludes 1,419,000 workers. There is no good reason for omitting this group – they are included in ONS’s widely reported analysis of total employment levels in the UK and comprise around five per cent of the workforce.

Excludes public sector jobs – meaning that around 20 per cent of the jobs (public sector jobs excluding those in financial corporations) in the entire UK economy are discounted.

The proportion of people in the UK population who were born in other countries has been rising consistently since the 1950s – as new migrant communities settle and their children enter the labour market the proportion of non-UK born British nationals will continue to increase. And as the Home Office acknowledge, the UK has some specific skills shortages – which mean that while it is vital to continue to enable workers in the UK to build their skills, it is also economically sensible to enable non-UK nationals to work in the UK.

Since 1997, unemployment rates have reached some of their lowest levels for 30 years, and even after the recession they remain low relative to other recent downturns. Research has consistently shown that, overall, migration has increased the number of jobs in the UK and raised levels of pay (although the effects may be very small).

It is absolutely true that are important policy discussions to be had about how the next Government can continue to improve skill levels among workers in the UK (new rights to request time off to train are the most recent in a long line of Labour measures) and the role that strategic industrial strategy should play in increasing good quality private sector jobs. There is also more that can be done to support communities experiencing sudden large-scale change as a result of migration. But a sensible debate about immigration needs to deal with the facts, and should not distort figures to make political points.

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155 Responses to “The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens”

  1. Ross McCleary

    RT @leftfootfwd The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  2. Migrant workers – do the Daily Express stats stand up? | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

    […] on Left Foot Forward, Richard and Nicola have undertaken an analysis of ONS statistics, refuting the Daily Express’ claim today that 98% of new jobs in the UK have been taken by […]

  3. Eric Fish

    RT @bat020 good piece at @leftfootfwd debunking the latest immigration scare http://is.gd/bk4u3

  4. Richard Hebditch

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  5. paulstpancras

    @bbc5live @nickyaacampbell @shelaghfoggerty See http://is.gd/bk4u3 via @leftfootfwd I hope you'll spend 4 hours 6am to 10am correcting this.

  6. Francesca H

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  7. Greg Eden

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  8. Lynn Stephenson

    RT @Johninnit RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  9. 5 Chinese Crackers

    RT @uponnothing: RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  10. Jason Grant

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: <i>Half</i> of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens http://is.gd/bk4u3

  11. simon trott

    RT @uponnothing: RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  12. Rachel Johnson

    RT @Ian_Mundy: @raggieroo Your suspicions confirmed, who'd 'ave thunk it?! http://is.gd/bk4u3 (via @badjournalism @leftfootforward)

  13. Bad Journalism

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  14. jenweb

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  15. Michael Rundle

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  16. Rachel Johnson

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  17. Joanna Till

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  18. Alex Scroxton

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  19. Mal Franks

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  20. Concetta Sidoti

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  21. Charlie Kirby

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  22. Rebecca Gunn

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  23. Shelly Asquith

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  24. David Bell

    RT @paulstpancras: @bbc5live @nickyaacampbell @shelaghfoggerty See http://is.gd/bk4u3 via @leftfootfwd I hope you'll spend 4 hours 6am t …

  25. Joe Shaw

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  26. if0x

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  27. Steve Wins

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  28. Andy Lockley

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  29. Jack Wilson

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  30. Jonny Littlewood

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  31. IanB

    Lies, damn lies and statistics. LFF is wrong too: http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/5898483/woolas-on-the-rack.thtml

  32. Ian Mundy

    @raggieroo Your suspicions confirmed, who'd 'ave thunk it?! http://is.gd/bk4u3 (via @badjournalism @leftfootforward)

  33. GabrielleLainePeters

    RT @badjournalism – Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3 #ukelection

  34. Nicola Frodsham

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  35. Teresa

    RT @psbook: RT @pickledpolitics: Is Spectator's @frasernels going to admit he got it wrong on jobs for UK citizens? http://bit.ly/caRRj0

  36. Kevin Arscott

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  37. DrJasonAbbott

    #ukelection #ge2010 Stop Tory lies on immigration and jobs http://tinyurl.com/ybfhoxj

  38. sunny hundal

    Is Spectator's @frasernels going to admit he got it wrong on jobs for UK citizens? http://bit.ly/caRRj0

  39. Marcus

    according to the Daily Mail, 98% of the jobs created since 1997 have gone to "foreigners". Or have they?: RT @leftfootfwd http://is.gd/bk4u3

  40. James West

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  41. Political Scrapbook

    RT @pickledpolitics: Is Spectator's @frasernels going to admit he got it wrong on jobs for UK citizens? http://bit.ly/caRRj0

  42. Mitchell Stirling

    As I worked out last night http://is.gd/bk4u3 Express / Mail and @FraserNels wrong.

  43. Eric Fish

    RT @leftfootfwd: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% http://is.gd/bk4u3
    < needs repeating. Wirral PPCs over to you.

  44. Philippe Legrain

    Why The Express and Spectator are misleading on immigration and jobs. Read my blog post at http://www.philippelegrain.com/why-the-express-and-spectator-are-misleading-on-immigration-and-jobs/

  45. Will Straw

    Will Straw

    IanB – We’re not, as it happens. Fraser Nelson is still only looking at private sector workers. We’re vindicated by this: http://bit.ly/bxKMy6

  46. DrJasonAbbott

    combat Tory lies on immigration and jobs http://tinyurl.com/ybfhoxj

  47. Katie

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

  48. Nicola Smith

    Hi Ian B,

    The analysis that we’ve done above shows that if you include employed men aged 65+ and employed women aged 60+ then the proportions fall (as FullFact show http://fullfact.org/blogdetail/?id=16&sel=blog) to 72.4 per cent. If you include people who were not born here but who are UK citizens the percentage falls again, as our analysis shows above and as Fraser Nelson has acknowledged.

    Nicola

  49. Catherine Jones

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens, NOT 2% as they claim: http://is.gd/bk4u3

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