The Sun’s anti-Labour jobs graph actually shows an employment rise

The newspaper's zeal to bash Miliband blinds it to its own evidence


In the Sun’s cheerleading ‘news coverage’ of the start of the election campaign, it’s zeal for bashing the Labour party appears to have blinded it to the evidence on its own pages.

This graph, published in today’s paper, was supposed to show ‘how Labour struggled to increase employment’ between 2005 and 2010. But as you can see, the bars tell a rather different story: a neat and increasingly steep rise in employment, with a peak of 29,376,000 people employed on the eve of the August 2007 global crash. (Click to enlarge)

Sun graph

You’ll also notice how the employment numbers are in millions, but the 000s are on the side in brackets, making it look at a glance as if employment was only a tiny 29,500, rather than well over 29,500,000. The graph next to it and over the page on employment since the 2010 election (after which the Tories formed a government) have all the 000s on the side of the graph.

Also, where is the side of the graph for the Labour years? Aren’t graphs supposed to have two axes? And where are the little plus signs next to the numbers used on the other graphs to denote an increase?

More optical slight of hand by the Sun, which also conveniently doesn’t mention the crash in its graphs.

Nearly two million more people in work is obviously a welcome development, though the Tories’ victory dance today will hardly impress the 400,000 public sector workers who lost their jobs in government cuts. But behind the numbers is a less rosy picture than the economic success story the press trumpets – at least if you have to work for a living.

However many jobs there are, and as incomes finally edge above inflation, it remains the case that people are being paid less, with the biggest fall in real earnings in 50 years. The government’s proposals to freeze all working age benefits for the next two years, and the growing cost of living and personal debt, mean employment is only a necessary but not sufficient pre-condition for improving people’s lives.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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