Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Unemployment figures hide minimum wage, zero hour contracts and underemployment

Today George Osborne has enthused that the fall in unemployment to 7.1 percent is "great news".

Enthusing: "Everyone of those jobs is a family more secure and it's evidence our long term economic plan is working."

Maybe in the fantasy world of trickle-down Toryshire this is good news. Ordinarily a cut of 167,000 in unemployment figures would be cause for celebration; a ray of hope in an otherwise gloomy economic forecast.

However, what Osborne fails to tell us is that most of those jobs are either on minimum wage, zero hours contracts or part-time (taken up by workers who actually need full time employment). Hardly the kind of jobs that will allow any real growth in economic activity on the part of these starvation wage earners.

Indeed, it will do little to stimulate the economy nor will it greatly reduce the burden on the state as many of the newly employed workers will still be entitled to benefits and tax credits due to the appallingly poor wages they’ll be taking home.

Sadly this reductions will serve only to massage unemployment figures, moving people from one benefit to another. But, it could boost the Tories standing with the electorate as the party that pulled us out of austerity; though I rather fancy the continuing flat-lining economy will be a better indicator of Chancellor Osborne’s mismanagement of our economy.  

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