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

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

5 Responses to “The Sun’s anti-Labour jobs graph actually shows an employment rise”

  1. Selohesra

    Cunning plan – create loads of unnecessary public sector jobs paid for by the taxpayer then claw back a small portion of that in income tax and claim you have increased tax take & created growth – smoke & mirrors did not fool anyone

  2. Guest

    Ah, so it’s “cunning” to have teachers and nurses, who you don’t think are necessary and that the NHS and schools “did not fool anyone”. Right.

    Your frantic, indeed rabid, denial of the clear facts of the recovery which your right wing choked off is clear. Keep celebrating rising poverty and falling wages.

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    And of course the right will be here in frantic denial of the very clear economic trends – denying the figures because it does not suit their ideology.

  4. Brickbabe

    How many of the private sector jobs have simple switched from the public sector in the NHS reorganisation? Or transitioned from probation into private companies?

  5. andrewi

    The next time your wife faints with a heart rate of 140, a core temperature 1.5 degrees over normal, twitches and tremors running through her arms and shooting pains running down her spine every time you get her back to consciousness that make her scream out loud… Call me. It took 3 hours for 999 to respond to my call yesterday and the real reason is that there isn’t enough public sector employees, but yeah, hide behind your pathetic economically justified but morally corrupt outlook.

    I don’t particularly care if there are claims of growth or not, when London had 7m population it was missing response targets and now there are 9.1m people and far less ambulances. You do the math.

Leave a Reply