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 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.

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