At it again: Now IDS misleads on jobs for foreigners

DWP is under investigation from the Statistics Authority. In today's Daily Mail, IDS makes erroneous claims about the proportion of "net jobs" goings to "people from overseas".

As DWP comes under investigation from the Statistics Authority, Iain Duncan Smith is at it again in this morning’s Daily Mail making erroneous claims about the proportion of “net jobs” goings to “people from overseas”.

In an interview for this morning’s Daily Mail, Iain Duncan Smith says:

“We created over four million jobs in those 13 years and…70% of those net jobs were taken by people from overseas because people in this county weren’t capable or able to take those jobs. Surely that’s a sin.”

Left Foot Forward contributor, Sarah Mulley, explains the problems with this kind of claim in an ippr briefing from August titled ‘Immigration and employment: anatomy of a media story‘. Mulley outlines that any “net jobs” figure implies far greater numbers of jobs created and jobs disappeared – one taken from the other creates the net figure. To understand the proportion of jobs that went to “people from overseas” requires a fraction of the number of gross jobs rather than net jobs.

In April, Left Foot Forward forced Fraser Nelson to clarify his own claims about the number of jobs going to foreign-born individuals. Responding to similar stories over the summer in the Daily Express and Telegraph, Sarah Mulley illustrated the problem with extrapolating proportions from net figures:

“There were 101,000 additional people in employment in April-June 2010 compared with April-June 2009. This increase was made up of 4,000 more UK nationals and 97,000 more non-UK nationals. So, a very simplistic reading of the stats (along the lines of the Express/Telegraph headlines) could be that: 97,000 of 101,000 new jobs created between April-June 2009 and April-June 2010 went to migrants. This does sound like a crazy world – it might suggest that British people got just 3 or 4 out of every 100 jobs advertised. No wonder people can’t get jobs if employers are giving 96 per cent of them to foreigners!

“Of course, this isn’t what the employment statistics tell us. There weren’t 101,000 new jobs created in this period. There were, in all likelihood, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new jobs created in this period. But hundreds of thousands or
millions of others disappeared, so the net impact on employment was 101,000. At the same time, millions of existing jobs were advertised (it doesn’t matter to a job seeker whether a job is new, just whether it’s available).

“For example, let’s assume for a moment that in the period in question, 9m existing jobs were advertised, 1m jobs disappeared and 1,101,000 new jobs were created (net employment gain: 101,000). So at the beginning of the period there were 10m jobs, and at the end there were 10,101,000. Let’s assume that 92 per cent (in line with the real percentage of the total working population) of the jobs that existed at the beginning were held by UK nationals and 8 per cent  by non-UK nationals. It only takes those proportions to shift to 91.1 per cent  and 8.9 per cent  by the end of the period to give 97,000 extra jobs to non-UK nationals and 4,000 extra to UK nationals (i.e. ’96 per cent  of new jobs go to foreigners!’). Small changes in employment patterns can suggest very big impacts if only net figures are considered.

Returning to Mr Duncan Smith’s interview in today’s Mail, it’s clear that the Work and Pensions Secretary either has no grasp of statistics or is misleading the public.

20 Responses to “At it again: Now IDS misleads on jobs for foreigners”

  1. buddleja

    Ian Duncan Smith either has no head for statitistics or he seeks to mislead on jobs going to foreigners http://bit.ly/ag0AZ8 #toryscum

  2. Anon E Mouse

    Will – However LFF tries to spin this story the fact remains that 97000 jobs that could have gone to UK nationals went to foreigners.

    I bet Gordon Brown with his “British jobs for British workers” is totally gutted :-}

  3. Job Search Pages

    At it again: Now IDS is misleading on jobs for foreigners | Left …: DWP is under investigation from the Statis… http://bit.ly/9ESVKK

  4. JoshC

    My vote goes for misleading the public. They’re saying whatever they think will get them public support in the safe knowledge that the vast majority of people will never learn that they’ve been taken for fools.

  5. Frank Spring

    Good piece by @wdjstraw on ConDem gov playing fast & loose with facts on immigration & jobs. http://tinyurl.com/2ef4pju

  6. Frank

    The point about workforce competitiveness that IDS was trying to make isn’t a bad one; in the midst of 10% unemployment in the US there have been over a million job postings that had been open for more than a year, and three million for more than three months, most of them positions requiring higher (or specialized) degrees, and employers have responded by either importing talent or leaving the country. If something similar has happened in Britain in the last thirteen years, the UK has come out ahead; it is far better to have an enterprise stay in the country and import talent than to have it leave altogether. Ideally, the domestic workforce should be able to jump into most of the newly-created jobs, which, one assumes, is the point toward IDS was stumbling. Two points in response to IDS: 1) using misleading data serves no useful purpose 2) criticizing (implicitly or explicitly) the Labour government for not making the workforce competitive at the same time that the ConDem government slashes the education budget to the marrow is pretty rich indeed.

  7. Carlos Gil

    #Jobs #JobsDirectUSA At it again: Now IDS is misleading on jobs for foreigners | Left … http://bit.ly/aAVIYr http://bit.ly/9n3Ifc

  8. Hire Me T-Shirt

    #Jobs #HireMe At it again: Now IDS is misleading on jobs for foreigners | Left … http://bit.ly/aAVIYr http://bit.ly/djw8LQ

  9. JobsDirectBlog.com

    #Jobs #Employment At it again: Now IDS is misleading on jobs for foreigners | Left … http://bit.ly/aAVIYr jobsdirectusa.com

  10. JobsDirectUSA

    #Jobs #Employment At it again: Now IDS is misleading on jobs for foreigners | Left … http://bit.ly/aAVIYr jobsdirectusa.com

  11. Pete Drake

    At it again: Now IDS is misleading on jobs for foreigners | Left …: DWP is under investigation from the Statis… http://bit.ly/cNouuk

  12. Chris Preston

    RT @leftfootfwd: At it again: Now IDS misleads on jobs for foreigners http://bit.ly/bSOR04

  13. Chris

    Freud used the 70% stat on channel 4 news this evening.

  14. Mr. Sensible

    Not surprised…

  15. ஜனார்தனன் Jana Mills

    made up figure on 90% of jobs to foreign workers #bbcqt http://ow.ly/38sG5

  16. Nick H.

    RT @leftfootfwd: At it again: Now IDS misleads on jobs for foreigners http://bit.ly/bSOR04 – Spin Spin Sugar…….

  17. Martell Thornton

    At it again: Now IDS is misleading on jobs for foreigners | Left …: In April, Left Foot Forward forced Fraser … http://bit.ly/9aKm0M

  18. Rob

    Will, before you lecture other people on stats, you need to do a little learning yourself. You can’t use the gross figure for jobs created without also doing the same for workers employed – counting more than once, if necessary, those who have taken up then left or lost a job and found another. The net stats ARE the relevant ones here. We’ve increased the number of jobs by 101,000 and most of that increase has been accommodated by increased employment of foreign-born workers, not by those born in the UK. Now, that might not matter if we had full-employment – it would actually be a good thing – but with two million unemployed it makes no sense to be importing people to do the work that could otherwise be done by British citizens.

    By way of comparison, would it be a good thing to have increased the number of houses (net) if these were all holiday homes for people based overseas, if the number of homeless was rising?

    The point on the distinction between ‘British-born’ and British is, however, well-made.

  19. IDS' stats rebuke is tip of the iceberg | Left Foot Forward

    […] Left Foot Forward and the independent Full Fact website have been documenting the Department for Work and Pensions’ detachment from reality. Other instances include: On November 11th, IDS said “We created over four million jobs in those 13 years and…70% of those net jobs were taken by people from overseas”. The first claim was challenged by Full Fact while the use of the phrase “net jobs” was taken to task by Left Foot Forward. […]

  20. UK Statistics Authority: "Serious deficiencies" in DWP use of statistics | Left Foot Forward

    […] remain outstanding concerns about the misuse of official figures on job vacancies and the number of net jobs that have gone to “people from overseas”. Share | Permalink | Leave a comment […]

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