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Theresa May, as usual, was proudly chirruping this particular Tory triumph:
I’m proud that unemployment remains at its lowest rate since 1975. Under this Government we have seen, on average, an extra 1,000 people in employment every day since 2010. There is more work to be done, but this is welcome news: pic.twitter.com/7XfUTq5XZc
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) November 15, 2017
However, as with most things related to the Tories, not all was as it seemed.
Whilst the number of jobless people supposedly fell, the number of people actually considered ‘in work’ also fell at the same time.
Essentially the Tories are claiming that the number of people working has gone up, whilst at the same time the number of people ‘in work’ has gone down.
This incredible statistical anomaly goes to show just how untrustworthy the statistics really are.
So unemployment has supposedly fallen again on the same day it's revealed that the total number of people actually in work has plummeted. The lie that the Tories use to create unemployment figures has just been exposed for all to see. https://t.co/LyKjKZIc0R
— Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) November 15, 2017
A closer look at how the figures are produced sheds a lot more truth on the reality of the situation.
Unemployment figures are collated from a survey taken of the labour force:
The employed are defined as those aged 16 or over, who are in employment if they did at least one hour of work in the reference week (as an employee, as self-employed, as unpaid workers in a family business, or as participants in government-supported training schemes), and those who had a job that they were temporarily away from (for example, if they are on holiday).
Just one hour of work a week and you are considered to be employed – and you don’t even have to be paid for it to be considered employment. You can just imagine how easily these extraordinarily ambiguous guidelines could be manipulated to massage the figures.
Secondly, this is how they define unemployment:
The unemployed are defined as those aged 16 or over, who are without work, have actively sought work in the last four weeks and are available to start work in the next two weeks; or are out of work but have found a job and are waiting to start it within the next two weeks.
Being considered ‘unemployed’ by the government isn’t exactly as straightforward as you would expect, is it?
And then there is the last category – the ‘economically inactive’, which is defined by the ONS as:
those aged 16 or over who are neither in employment nor unemployed. This group includes, for example, all those who are looking after a home or family, have a long-term illness or disability which prevents them working, or are retired.
Yes, ‘looking after a home or family’ is considered economically inactive, and so these people aren’t included in the unemployment figures. Again, this is open to all kinds of statistical gymnastics.
Basically, the whole thing is a sham.
And whilst the Tories were shouting their miraculous unemployment figures from the rooftops, they were also absolutely silent about one other statistic – one that’s a little harder to manipulate:
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) November 15, 2017
Yes, despite the Tories claiming that they want to ‘make work pay’, under their watch our wages have fallen every single month for the last year and a half. And before that we haven’t seen any increase whatsoever for a decade now.
In many ways we’re living in a replica of the crumbling Soviet Union. We have an economy that is clearly failing, and jobs that are entirely pointless, insecure, or not even real jobs in the first place. And we have leaders who attempt to laud our broken system by showing us how everything is actually brilliant with entirely fictitious statistics.
The majority of our generation no longer trusts the establishment or the rigidly hyper-capitalistic system they continue to impose on us any longer. And when it’s so glaringly obvious that society has been rigged against our generation, these farcical Ministry-of-Truth-esque statistics just make us even more angry.
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