"There are no unemployed people"

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"There are no unemployed people"

#1  Postby Keep It Real » Nov 19, 2017 3:17 pm

Speaking to Andrew Marr, the chancellor says "there are no unemployed people", when asked about the threat to jobs posed by new technology.
Asked to clarify, he said the government had not forgotten the 1.4m unemployed in the UK, saying people were finding work "at a remarkable rate".


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-42042769/philip-hammond-says-there-are-no-unemployed-people



WTF?! I estimate that 90% of people in my neighbourhood are on ESA - and none of them show up in the unemployment statistics, so it's not even just 1.4 million technically unemployed according to any sensible definition IMO. The gov are pulling the wool over our eyes about this IMO.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#2  Postby Thommo » Nov 20, 2017 12:25 pm

I don't think there's much mileage in pretending he meant something he didn't. His comment was poorly put, but clearly referring to a specific situation (shorthand typists).

Politicians say plenty of reprehensible things that they mean and make plenty of genuine errors, it's better to worry about those instead of manufactured talking points.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#3  Postby minininja » Nov 22, 2017 6:50 pm

Thommo wrote:I don't think there's much mileage in pretending he meant something he didn't. His comment was poorly put, but clearly referring to a specific situation (shorthand typists).

Politicians say plenty of reprehensible things that they mean and make plenty of genuine errors, it's better to worry about those instead of manufactured talking points.

While I agree with this mostly, I don't think he should be let completely off the hook for his statement. Even in context it's avoiding telling the full story. The percentage of employees that are now in insecure and low paying jobs has definitely increased and the requirements for highly technical retraining in order to get good jobs is leaving many people behind. When compared to the cost of living there has been a stratification in society caused at least in part by the benefits of technological progress not being shared equally throughout society, - and the Tories would rather pretend it's not happening than do anything about it.
[Disclaimer - if this is comes across like I think I know what I'm talking about, I want to make it clear that I don't. I'm just trying to get my thoughts down]
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#4  Postby Keep It Real » Feb 13, 2018 12:04 am

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear" - George Orwell

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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#5  Postby Keep It Real » Oct 20, 2018 12:22 pm

I heard the other day that people working just one hour a week (or was it month) on a zero hours contract, and full-time carers (unwaged) are included as "the employed" in the UK gov's unemployment statistic. Nevermind everybody on the sick, or those who retire early, or inherit money, or are cared for by parents/relatives/friends, or are career criminals, or are beggars, or in prison, or in full time education...and yet if one is not in paid work one is judged to be a "loser" in the zeitgeist, for the most part. Universal Basic Wage please, and an announcement from gov circa "blessed are those out of employment, for their carbon footprint is slight." That self-esteem boost and reframing would cure so many societal ills IMO.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#6  Postby Thommo » Oct 20, 2018 1:25 pm

Just look up the employment figures instead of the unemployment figures if that's what you're worried about. Both measures have their appropriate uses and both are officially recorded.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#7  Postby Alan B » Oct 20, 2018 9:59 pm

All political parties will fudge the way they calculate who is employed or unemployed. I seem to remember some years ago (can't find a reference) that Labour's method of calculation was different to the Tory's. The Tory method for the total employed seemed to include people that Labour deemed to be unemployed. Thus giving the impression that the unemployment rate was 'lower' under the Tories.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#8  Postby Keep It Real » Oct 20, 2018 10:03 pm

Very.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#9  Postby Thommo » Oct 20, 2018 10:16 pm

Alan B wrote:All political parties will fudge the way they calculate who is employed or unemployed. I seem to remember some years ago (can't find a reference) that Labour's method of calculation was different to the Tory's. The Tory method for the total employed seemed to include people that Labour deemed to be unemployed. Thus giving the impression that the unemployment rate was 'lower' under the Tories.


Not convinced, these are figures kept by government bodies and not the government themselves. Do you have a source?
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#10  Postby Alan B » Oct 21, 2018 9:28 am

Do you consider that a person who receives no pay for doing work to be employed or unemployed. They will not be able to pay tax, NIC or contribute to a pension. The 'employer' takes no responsibility and yet reaps all the benefits.
I think Labour would consider these people to be unemployed whereas the Tories would count them as 'employed'.
Another way to 'adjust' the figures is to manipulate the Benefit system so that people who are denied Unemployment Benefit (for any reason) must therefore be not 'unemployed'.
True, government departments hold the figures, but it is the 'government of the day' that decides how they are counted.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#11  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 21, 2018 9:49 am

ONS themselves admit the figures are estimates. They are nowhere near the truth. ONS has no idea who lives, enters or leaves the country:

More evidence that the true rate of unemployment in the UK is 3 times greater than the government's preferred statistics suggest

14.5% of UK households are "workless," according to the ONS.
That's three times as high as the headline unemployment rate, 4.5%.
The distribution shows that the official unemployment number partially disguises the true distribution of unemployment and worklessness in the UK.

Yet, as the ONS makes clear, that 4.5% number doesn't count part-time workers who want full-time jobs, "inactive" workers alienated from the workforce, people who retire, students, or those who work in the home.

Once you wrap all those people in, the number of jobless people is actually 21.5% of the entire workforce, according to the ONS. That's one in every five workers, or four times the government's preferred definition of unemployed. This chart from Pantheon Macroeconomics shows that the total rate of unemployed workers, inactive workers who want jobs, and people stuck in part-time jobs who want full-time work, is also about 14.5%, roughly the same as the ONS's household rate:


Image

Why does not ONS use the accepted definition of unemployed as used in the EU.

Here is further explanation:

Unemployment in the UK is now so low it's in danger of exposing the lie used to create the numbers
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#12  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 21, 2018 9:55 am

Thanks to the gig economy:

The 'gig economy' has broken a fundamental link in capitalism that was good for workers


The last time unemployment was as low as its current rate, in 1975, earnings increased by 30% a year. Today, average wage growth is only 1.9%. What has gone wrong?

The big difference in the post-2008 period is the increase in poorly paid, part-time, self-employed, low-quality jobs.

British workers are so cheap it is tempting to hire them rather than invest money into something more productive for the long run, such as new plant, equipment or technology.

Pay no longer moves upward as unemployment goes down because companies like Uber, Just Eat, and Deliveroo can switch off their demand for labour on a minute-by-minute basis.

The gig economy has thus broken a fundamental link in capitalism that was good for workers.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#13  Postby Alan B » Oct 21, 2018 11:46 am

This is interesting, from your first link, Scot

Image

It would seem that as the 'Economic Inactivity' for men increases (less employed), the 'Economic Inactivity' for women decreases (more employed), 'in step', it would seem.
I can't help thinking that this is due to the male/female wage differential. I would suspect that equal pay across the sexes could make this chart redundant. :dunno:
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#14  Postby Thommo » Oct 21, 2018 12:55 pm

Alan B wrote:It would seem that as the 'Economic Inactivity' for men increases (less employed), the 'Economic Inactivity' for women decreases (more employed), 'in step', it would seem.
I can't help thinking that this is due to the male/female wage differential. I would suspect that equal pay across the sexes could make this chart redundant. :dunno:


It's gender roles. When that chart started in the 70s women were largely housewives. Now they aren't.

Society is vastly less sexist than it was 50 years ago, but nonetheless there's still far more social pressure both internally and externally for men who are full time carers than women, and we can't necessarily expect that to ever go away completely.

The really notable thing is the decline in overall households that have a full time carer. In almost all cases where a household that once would have had a housewife now has a working mother, there is now a household with two working parents instead.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#15  Postby Thommo » Oct 21, 2018 1:16 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:ONS themselves admit the figures are estimates. They are nowhere near the truth. ONS has no idea who lives, enters or leaves the country:


This is somewhere between straightforwardly untrue and wildly misleading.

Like all immigration, employment, GDP, and many other government statistics in all countries the methods used to form the statistics are estimates. However, they are very good and methodologically sound and consistent estimates made with a high degree of confidence, in most cases.

The estimates will be close to the truth (and in the cases of many statistics kept by government, this can be checked against census results every few years), the ONS does have a very good idea of the number of people living in, entering and leaving the country (and they do not purport to record the names of each person entering and leaving, that's the job of customs, and is not relevant to government statistics. Limitations on tracking individuals are more to do with the concerns individuals have for privacy than statistical methodology).

Where an individual needs to be tracked, by name, that data is available to the security services, as in the recent case of the Salisbury murderers Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, but this is not a matter for the ONS.

Scot Dutchy wrote:Why does not ONS use the accepted definition of unemployed as used in the EU.


As far as I'm aware, it does. Your sources certainly don't indicate otherwise, in fact they don't mention the EU at all!

The EU's own statistical body has the following definition of unemployment statistics (although individual member states keep their own figures):
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Glossary:Unemployment wrote:An unemployed person is defined by Eurostat, according to the guidelines of the International Labour Organization, as:

someone aged 15 to 74 (in Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway: 16 to 74 years);
without work during the reference week;
available to start work within the next two weeks (or has already found a job to start within the next three months);
actively having sought employment at some time during the last four weeks.

The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed as a percentage of the labour force.

The ONS page about the definition they use is here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlab ... employment
The level and rate of UK unemployment measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS), using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.


The EU's own figures can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistic ... statistics
Image
Which shows UK unemployment at the lower rate of 4%, compared to an EU average of 6.8% and a Euro Area average of 8.1%.

A fact check has also looked into these figures: https://fullfact.org/economy/uk-eurozon ... mployment/

Perhaps you could tell us in what important respect Britain's unemployment figures are kept differently from EU figures and how you think it changes the overall picture?



Jim Edwards wrote a followup article after people he "respects" "dismayed" him by calling the content of his argument "silly" and "ridiculous".

http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-lie-b ... ers-2017-7

There is a widely understood set of reasons that economists use the unemployment rate the way they do. It makes little sense to criticise that figure without first understanding that (widely available) argument. As mentioned upthread, if that still doesn't satisfy an individual the ONS (along with the equivalent bodies in other countries) does also keep employment figures anyway, which don't have the same set of exceptions, and are just as freely available to the general public.

The reason you don't see them cited as often is because they are deemed to be less useful.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#16  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 21, 2018 3:51 pm

Why are you quoting EU data? Where does the EU get its data from? Nuf said. You are comparing ONS non-data with other more accurate data collected not estimated. Or dont you understand?
ONS made a complete balls up when asked how many foreign students were over staying their student visa.

Home Office accused of basing foreign student policy on 'fantasy'

Only after ONS made the estimates using different methods was the mistake shown. Do you trust British government data?

ONS does not collect data it estimates it and passes it on to the EU. Do you think the EU uses independent data collectors?
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#17  Postby Thommo » Oct 21, 2018 4:43 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:Why are you quoting EU data? Where does the EU get its data from? Nuf said. You are comparing ONS non-data with other more accurate data collected not estimated. Or dont you understand?


In order:
  • I'm quoting EU data because you brought it up for no reason. Perhaps you could answer your own question and say why you brought it up?
  • The EU gets its data from member states.
  • "Nuf said"? You haven't said anything at all here. Please explain.
  • No, that's incorrect, the data from all member states uses the same international standard, as I indicated in the quotes you clearly ignored. This standard is the guidelines of the International Labour Organization.
  • I do understand. You appear to be quite misguided. You certainly appear to be quite wrong to say that the ONS uses a different standard to the EU, and wrong to say non-ONS sources are more accurate data. If you wish to continue to put forward your erroneous thesis, you should provide your sources.

Scot Dutchy wrote:ONS made a complete balls up when asked how many foreign students were over staying their student visa.


Whether or not that is the case has no bearing on unemployment data, which is what the thread is about. Specifically your claim that ONS data standards are different to those used in the EU.

You've been provided sources showing that both data sets conform to the same standard.

Scot Dutchy wrote:Home Office accused of basing foreign student policy on 'fantasy'

Only after ONS made the estimates using different methods was the mistake shown.


It's not a mistake in the figures. Read the article again. The dispute is a political one, highlighting the difference between students who overstay their visa and students who remain in the country after their course is complete*.

Both figures are broadly accurate, and there are two different schools of thought, namely:

(i) There are people who believe the net migration figure should represent the total number of people into the country minus the total number of people out of the country.
(ii) There are people who believe that student net migration should be removed from the figures (usually the net migration target of less than 100,000) because they believe student migration is a positive benefit to the country.**

Scot Dutchy wrote: Do you trust British government data?


Of course, it's collected by a well-reputed organisation to the same international standard as the rest of the data from the EU, and is recognised by that international body and the EU itself as being accurate.

So I repeat my request: At the moment you're lobbing around baseless and inaccurate accusations, neither the Independent article, nor the Business Insider articles (which were widely pooh-poohed by qualified economists) contain or support your contentions so far. On what sources do you rely?

*Often by transferring to a new visa type related to employment or marital status.
**There are technical as well as principled objections to this view, since the data for "student net migration" is not currently collected, which is obliquely referred to in the Independent article and its primary source: "The above work concludes that looking at net migration without full consideration of challenges of measuring emigration by original reason could mislead. Using current methods, net migration by reason for arrival is not a robust statistic. We would caution users from subtracting emigration after study numbers from immigration to study numbers without full consideration of the issues set out here."
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#18  Postby Keep It Real » Oct 21, 2018 5:15 pm

...
Last edited by Keep It Real on Oct 21, 2018 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#19  Postby Thommo » Oct 21, 2018 5:24 pm

Keep It Real wrote:tldr today.Fillabustering is a word. Flowers or not.


Filibustering is a word*. Fillabustering is not.

*Albeit not at all relevant to this thread, it means: "act[ing] in an obstructive manner in a legislative assembly, especially by speaking at inordinate length."
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Re: "There are no unemployed people"

#20  Postby Keep It Real » Oct 21, 2018 5:31 pm

Oh fucking hell are we going to start talking about how I was left out of fallible's flowers?
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