Coffee House

The British jobs miracle – explained in five graphs

16 May 2014

5:58 PM

16 May 2014

5:58 PM

The British jobs miracle continues – and in ways that continue to surprise. Your CoffeeHouse baristas have been crunching the numbers. They’re startling in a number of ways. For example:-

1. David Cameron’s record at job creation is better than any of his last four predecessors – including Tony Blair in a boom. See chart above.Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 18.23.14

2. Jobs are being created so quickly that even the March Budget prediction is out of date. The above graph shows a dotted line, indicating the OBR projections. The thick red one, above, shows that we’re already ahead.Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 18.21.33


3. British citizens are being hired Not always the same as British-born, you understand, but those holding a British passport are disproportionally benefitting in a way that has really taken off over the last year.Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 18.30.13

4. And the young have caught up with the old. When the crash came, the going got tough – and the old got going. The number of over-65s in work surged, which poses a tough question for the Keynesians. If it’s all about demand, why weren’t all age groups affected equally? Anyway, the young and old are now uniting.Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 18.32.47

5. But low wages (and low productivity) explain a lot of this. Just to put a downer on all of the above, I’ll say what the government tends not to emphasise. The toleration of above-average inflation has crushed the real value of wages and it’ll likely be 2020 before the average salary is back to where it was in 2007. Companies are hiring more people, because people are cheaper (and more likely to work part-time nowadays or on flexible (aka ‘zero hours’ contracts). Cameron’s jobs recovery is a bittersweet success. But a success nonetheless.

PS And what did Ed Miliband say would happen?

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Show comments
  • Gazcon

    “those holding a British passport are disproportionally benefitting in a way that has really taken off over the last year.”

    Great to see some improvement in this, but the graph shows that more than 1 in 3 of these jobs are still going to non-Brits.

    Unless you are claiming that non-Brits make up more than 1 in 3 of the population, then it is the non-Brits who are disproportionally benefitting.

  • Q46

    No Government creates jobs… except the wealth consuming civil servant/quango sort… private enterprise does that.

    Government can create an environment where job creation flourished by reducing taxes and regulation, and certainly the current Government has in fact done the opposite, so the explanation is the strength and resilience of free market capitalism… isn’t it a marvel?

  • Gemma Peter

    Here is How the UK Govt Hid 1 million Jobless From Official Unemployment Figures

  • John Smith

    So we lived beyond our means
    This is the much required correction

  • Adaadat

    I like this:

    “…3. British citizens are being hired. Not always the same as British-born, you understand…”

    Pretending to educate the readers, whereas, in reality, it’s us who have to educate The Spectator (you’re part of the establishment, you see).

    Pretty muted on the guaranteed disaster of HS2, actual disaster of ‘green’ energy, these fabled ‘green’ jobs, Labour-lite tax and spend and Labourite social policies, bar the occasional article to keep the readers quiet.

  • Liam willis

    How many people in this miracle drop in unemployment are sanctioned or on workfare? or have gone self employed to get tax credits, this miracle is being funded by tax credits and housing benefits as people do not earn enough to live on so the state is subsidising these jobs, the economic miracle under Osborne is the national debt has ballooned to £1500 Billion from £700 Billion in 4 years and this is trumpeted as success

  • Guest

    Personally, I pronounce it “Marra-la-bone”. I think I got it from the automated announcements on British Rail/Chiltern Rail trains I heard as a child in the 90s.

  • MrJones

    It must have been a bit like this in France in the 1780s.

  • Chingford Man

    Can we have a graph sometime showing The Spectator’s circulation?

  • justejudexultionis

    Does anybody believe anything the British politico-media establishment tells us nowadays?

  • you_kid

    Fraser, why not simply publish a PAYE graph of the employed to get the real picture of the weighted/ unweighted jobs miracle here?

  • Smithersjones2013

    Cameron the ‘Jobby’. How appropriate. I think the problem is Tories have spent much of the last three years proving to Kippers they are the ‘nasty party’ of Labour legend and as deceitful as the Blairites they so worship that no one cares about their achievements anymore, exaggerated or not…….

    And of course then there is the potential impact of the Libdems as coalition partners and the third rule of politics

    Never trust a liberal (elitist) using a graph as proof

    PS Incidentally aren’t I right in thinking that the UK government is currently granting as many citizenships as any other country in Europe?

    • HookesLaw


    • perdix

      Like Labour, kippers don’t like it when the government is successful. About time kippers took a positive view on life, they’d be so much happier.

  • IanH

    Fraser, I’ve said before, you need to stop wittering on about the productivity crisis. The ONS do not have a good measure on productivity these days, their models are all based on the big industry one. These days a lot of the growth is in small digital industries who won’t be reporting earning until at least 10 months after their y.e.

    • HookesLaw

      Plus it is to bad thing that companies have clung on to labour. Mr Nelson is good at drawing graphs bit poor at interpreting them.

  • swatnan

    … despite Osborne and Balls efforts to wreck it.

  • Shinsei1967

    What’s particularly odd is that many of Osborne’s biggest economic critics on the left (e.g. Blanchflower or Richard Murphy) continue to call for much higher inflation in order to deal with the deficit/debt thru inflation rather than “cuts.. Yet as your final chart shows all too clearly (and the traction of the “cost of living crisis” demonstrates) it is high inflation that has contributed most to the collapse in real living standards and the general malaise in many quarters worried about high profile utility and commuting bills.

    • HookesLaw

      Dealing with it by inflation just reduces our national competitiveness

  • Cooper1992

    Mr Nelson, could we please have graphs for Mr Hollande’s Socialist Miracle so that we can compare and contrast which system works best?

    • Hello

      You could always vote Miliband and find out for yourself.

      • telemachus

        Top graph shows Cameron is the true heir to Blair

        • Hello

          Oh, tele! You do tickle me with your comments!

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Labour Troll ignore.

        • Colin

          Heir to Heath, more like.

        • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

          Tele, what do you think about these statistics?

    • Mike Barnes

      Any comparisons with France are utterly pointless, it’s stuck with an overvalued currency and has no control over a central bank.

      Why not just compare Cameron’s jobs record with Tony Blair?

      Or Thatcher’s with Brown!

  • joe

    Forcing people off JSA and into ‘self employment’ on zero our contracts is nothing to celebrated

    • Ooh!MePurse!

      You would prefer people to be unemployed?

      • joe

        they are already unemployed ! its a statistical fix, a trick to make numbers seem lower

        • Darnell Jackson

          Post some evidence fcukwit

          • Richard Hall

   <—————evidence ONS data 2013

   <—————–evidence ONS data 2010

            At first glance, the official unemployment figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in January 2013 make comforting reading to Tory sympathisers. If one just focuses on the headline figure of 7.7% unemployment and an economic inactivity rate of just over 9 million people, you could imagine that although the rates are barely moving downwards, things are not getting any worse.

            However if one digs a little deeper into the long -term unemployment and youth unemployment figures we find some truly shocking statistics. I've used the last batch of ONS employment statistics released under the Labour government for comparison, published in April 2010.

            What we have to bear in mind is that this last batch of economic figures released under the Labour administration were terrible. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats used the skyrocketing rates of unemployment in the wake of the global financial sector crisis of 2007-08 as a pre-election club to bludgeon Labour with. The fact that the global financial crisis had resulted in labour market chaos and the very worst unemployment figures since the early days of the Labour administration, just before a General Election was a disaster for the party. Any opposition with the slightest air of competence about them should have romped to a landslide victory on the back of dismal labour market figures like this.

            As we know the Tories didn't romp to victory, they crawled into power with the backing of the Liberal Democrats. In the early days of the Tory led administration they were bullish; George Osborne set about inflicting his "cut now, think later" ideological austerity experiment with the zeal of a man on an ideological crusade, His wonks at brainchild taxpayer funded right-wing economic think tank, the OBR, predicted 2.6% growth for the UK economy by 2012 and the welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith talked optimistically about "getting Britain working" as he set about extending private sector outsourcing contracts at the DWP left over by Labour and bringing in his own flagship outsourcing project known as the Work Programme.

            As we know how it turned out, Osborne's ideological austerity experiment drove the UK into a double-dip recession, economic growth in 2012 was a shocking minus 0.1%, in the year that the UK hosted the most prestigious sporting event on the planet. The private sector outsourcing projects at the DWP turned out catastrophically with the Atos WCA assessments picking up the moniker "the disability denial factory", the Workfare scheme provoking widespread protestsand comparisons with slavery and Iain's flagship Work Programme costing an estimated £450 million in it's first year, just to place 31,240 clients out of 877,880 into work, a success rate of just 3.5%, with not a single one of the 18 Work Programme contractors meeting the minimum target of getting just 5.5% of clients into work.

            Throughout this debacle one thing remained a mystery, the overall rate of unemployment remained more or less static, despite George Osborne's austerity experiment causing economic stagnation (a fact admitted by his brainchild think tank's own research) and Iain Duncan Smith's hopeless tenure as Employment minister.

            Comparing the January 2013 employment data with the April 2010 report we find a number of startling things, the number of people unemployed and claiming benefits for over one year has risen by 168,000 to 894,000, a rise of 23.1%. Youth unemployment has risen by 36.2% to 963,000 and worst of all, the number of people out of work and claiming benefits for more than two years has risen from 268,000 (a post economic crisis all time high under the 1997-2010 Labour administration) to 443,000, a rise of 65.3%.

            Despite all of the Tory rhetoric about tackling long-term unemployment, the facts speak for themselves: The Conservatives have overseen a massive rise in long-term unemployment. What is worse, is that this massive increase has come on top of the worst figures the Labour administration ever produced. Labour had the excuse that the global economic crisis had caused havoc in the Labour market. What is the Tory excuse? Their rhetoric in 2010 was that they were going to bring long term unemployment down, instead it has skyrocketed.

            One is left with the distinct impression that Iain Duncan Smith and the Tories never had any real plan to deal with the unemployment situation, no cross-governmental strategy to support British businesses with innovative new ideas, no attempts to improve co-operation between the DWP and the education sector, no plans at all really. All they could come up with was the ever-predictable Tory strategy of "lets abnegate our own responsibilities, get the private sector in on some lucrative taxpayer funded contracts and watch as our privatisation experiment goes wonderfully". It seems that Iain Duncan Smith has spent far more time pushing the DWP to draw up desperately one sided contracts with the private sector (where the private sector take enormous profits,with the taxpayer left to carry all of the risk and all of the unforeseen financial costs too).

            We can only imagine how much better the situation would have been had Iain Duncan Smith not spent his energies pushing through one bonkers, taxpayer funded private sector outsourcing scheme after another, and instead focused his energies on devising some real practical initiatives to tackle unemployment. The numerous failures of these private sector outsourcing schemes (The Atos WCA scheme, Workfare and the Work Programme) illustrate one thing very clearly indeed. The private sector is not well suited to the successful implementation of social reform. When it comes to the crunch, the private sector has a shareholder obligation to ensure a profit whatever the circumstances. If it is a choice between turning a profit and the success of the social reform, there is only one possible outcome. Profit comes first and concern for the actual well being of the unemployed comes as a very low priority consideration.

            One thing is for sure though, despite this desperate worsening of the long-term unemployment situation, there will be no change of policy from Iain Duncan Smith now. The private sector contracts are all drawn up now, to walk away from these catastrophic schemes would cost hundreds of £millions in compensation payouts. And anyhow, with Tory popularity slumping lower and lower, they are going to need all the scapegoats they can get in the run-up to the next election. They won't care one jot that they made the long-term unemployment situation so much worse, as long as they turn the "scrounger narratives" up to full volume, they'll be hopeful that there are sufficient ignorant reactionaries to be won over with a good old fashioned display of Tory hate.

            • joe

              great research , the media give the tories an easy ride

              • Darnell Jackson

                Go back to sleep

            • Darnell Jackson

              This is drivel.

              If you truly think this you should seek help.

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          No, they are earning their own money. They are getting up in the morning with a sense of purpose and a sense of worth. They are not completely dependent on others. What a wonderful thing it is to have a real purpose! They could grow with experience, get promotion, pay tax, bring up children with pride.

          You would prefer them to be unemployed.

          I assume that you’re left wing. Left wing people like unemployment. It forces individuals to become dependent on the state. On the radio yesterday I heard a left winger critising the number of people who have become self-employed. Typical.

          • saffrin

            They are hanging themselves waiting for a phone call. The promised five, six day working week turned out to be two or three days a week depending on how quickly you can answer the phone, get out of bed at 2am after being woken by a phone call you report to some factory 15 miles away in 30 minutes or get dropped to the bottom of the phone call list.
            That is what ‘no hours’ contracts are.

          • joe

            what part of self employed dont you understand ??? someone who has lost his job at a IT company and becomes a self employed contractor with 0 customers is not employed.

            ooh no im left wing, classic partisan BS to be expected from the right, shameless . Im making a very accurate observation. The growth in self employment is unprecedented and clearly not real !
            left wing people like people unemployed ?? what are you 5 years old

    • jj155749

      oh change the record. Not everyone on zero hours is a victim. some quite like

      • joe

        I wouldnt expect spectator readers to know anyway

    • Hello

      Yes, all the 65-plusses were on JSA before, right?

    • tommy5dollar

      95% of the jobs created in 2013 were full-time.