Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and Unemployment Statistics

Following on from our last post (see post) it has been a bad few days for unemployment in the UK. As the real economy marches into recession, we are seeing a raft of headlines announcing redundancies and job losses (see example). Whilst each one of these jobs lost is a tragedy in itself, we do need to stand back and ask what it means.

The Times report isn't very helpful in this regard. However, the report in the Daily Mail alluded to in the last post (see article) is a bit more instructive. The Daily Mail includes a visual that says that Virgin Media has announced job cuts of 2,200 by 2012. That amounts to 2,200 job losses in three years.

Averaging out, that adds up to 3 job losses for each working day until 2012. For unemployment to reach 3 million by the end of 2009, additional job losses would have to be at a rate of 4,800 every working day. This puts the 3 in the news article into perspective.

Of course, we must not lose sight of the fact that jobs are being created as well as lost every day. The unemployment figures provide a snapshot at a single point in time the reflects the balance between job loss and job creation. What the doommongers have not reported are the jobs being created at present. For example, I wonder how many more insolvency accountants would be needed by the end of the year?

The UK, along with the US, is one of those economies that is good at job creation over a very short time period. Therein lies a bit of good news for us all. We need to look for that turning point where job creation has won back the initiative from job losses.

© The European Futures Observatory 2009

The European Futures Observatory is currently co-ordinating the Europe Chapter of the World Future Society. To this end, we have arranged a meeting in Paris on Wednesday 18th February 2009 to launch the Chapter. A cordial invitation is extended to all members, friends, and supporters to attend the lunch. Further details can be found on our web site.
Click here for details.

No comments: