Coffee House

The British jobs miracle, in six graphs.

13 June 2014

13 June 2014

No one quite expected it, and even now ministers struggle to explain it. But the British jobs miracle has become the single biggest fact of economic life – proving that sometimes, things go badly right as well as badly wrong. Cameron has now overseen more job creation than his last six predecessors did at this stage (above). The excellent Michael Saunders from CitiGroup has produced an excellent report about it (pdf) and some of his charts are below.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.09.54

1Jobs growth is beating every single forecast (see chart of total jobs, above), even the optimistic forecasts that George Osborne was publishing when he was talking about abolishing the deficit in five years. He has since given himself ten years, but look at these jobs. Even the March 2014 forecast from the OBR looks laughably out of date.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.11.11

Subscribe from £1 per week

2. And look at the flip side, unemployment. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney used to say he’d raise rates when unemployment dipped below 7%. At the time, the BoE forecast unemployment following the dotted pink trajectory at the top, above. In fact, it took just a few months for unemployment to reach the position the BoE had planned for 2016. The BoE has made several other new forecasts but even its May forecast looks a bit pessimistic.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.11.47
3. Is this all due to part-time jobs? Nope. The above graph shows full time and the self-employed doing best. I met a welfare-to-work provider a couple of weeks ago who told me his company was able to move people off benefits and into self-employment, by allowing them to set up a company around their skill set. To be sure, a lot of people would like more hours. But full-time jobs have risen more than any other type.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.12.26
4. And yes, a lot of this is to do with real low wages. The cheaper folk are to hire, the more companies will hire (see correlation, above). A function of worryingly low productivity. But as Allister Heath says, if you had to choose between a jobless recovery and a low-productivity recovery with lots of jobs, you’d go for the latter every time.


Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 14.13.46

5. We could soon be heading for the highest proportion of people in work since 1971. And that would be not a bad basis on which to fight the next election.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.

Show comments
  • you_kid

    These charts do not make good reading:
    ever more full time jobs, ever more participants on the market (why are they all returning to work?), lower than ever earnings.

    A classic ‘race to the bottom’ scenario.
    Were productivity/unit labour cost really that high before (sarc alert!)?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you and your army of sockpuppets are certainly productive trolls on this site, lad.

  • DaveTheRave

    Mn, a miracle…
    And still over 2 million unemployed.
    How does that work then?

    • Chris Morriss

      That’s because the real population number in this country is much higher than the published one. That’s how you can get an increasing number of people in work and yet number of unemployed has only dropped slightly.

      • DaveTheRave

        UK 70 million?
        England 59 million?
        It’s a mad mad world, is it not?

    • balance_and_reason

      20 million immigrants since 1997……….bound to be a few on the acky acky

  • HookesLaw

    The fact that we have our own currency is helping, we avoided the worst of the eurozone mess. Now we find our currency rising and we will have to work hard and smart to make that work for us.
    We have been through many years of reform in our jobs market and for instance our car industry is way ahead of France where they are only now shedding jobs and closing factories and prostrating themselves before Chinese money.
    We are now looking at reform of welfare and education and we are actually doing something about it instead of talking about it like labour did.

    Beware do not let the nutjobs and the crypto Marxist ruin it all. Its a simple message but it bears repeating.

    • southerner

      It’s a simple message peddled by the simple Camerlooons. And nobody is listening.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, the Camerluvvies’ marketeering approach is starting to grow tiresome, as we see .

        • HookesLaw

          Tiresome is as tiresome does.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …it does put Call Me Dave’s head on a spike 10.5 months from now, yes.

            • southerner

              Any patriotic Brit who cares about their country can barely wait.

      • HookesLaw

        And nutjobs like you are the real danger to our country. A simple message that needs repeating.

  • Smithersjones2013

    The cheaper folk are to hire, the more companies will hire (see
    correlation, above). A function of worryingly low productivity. But as
    Allister Heath says, if you had to choose between a jobless recovery and
    a low-productivity recovery with lots of jobs, you’d go for the latter
    every time.

    Which is great for employers but no good for workers or politicians because making workers poorer is not going to win votes. Hasn’t Nelson heard of the cost of living crisis? These Tories are so freaking dim……

    • balance_and_reason

      Having a job is better than not having a job….full stop.

      Labour produced in net terms Zero new private sector jobs in from 1997 to the final spend fest. The record could not be clearer.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Actually, there are any number of people who acknowledge they are being incentivized to hold down their income, lest their government sugar get minimized accordingly.

        • balance_and_reason

          of course ….people will always go for the best pay off….logical, most folk aren’t stupid.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            The point is that the government incentivized them to shirk work, as they’ve freely admitted. So in contrast to your above assertion, having a job is not better than not having a job… full stop.

            • balance_and_reason

              You are thinking like a toddler…immediate gratification.
              As someone starting out in the work field, if you get a job you get practiced in the field, you are building a track record of dependability; nothing to stop you doing a few things on the side for more money, nothing, as things stand, to stop you claiming benefits that you are entitled to…..deferred gratification its called….you will do better , you will feel better about yourself, people will esteem you more, you will , in all likelihood therefore, be a better person. ( not saying all people on benefits are scum obviously)….I agree that a welfare system that encourages people to leave work and take benefits is so wrong it could only have been designed by socialists… was.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You’re thinking like a dolt who made an invalid assertion and now feels it necessary to waste hundreds of words in defense of it.

                Just retract the stupid statement and move on, lad.

                This Speccie kid is basically making the same statement you are, and calling it sound politics. It’s not. In 10.5 months, Dave is going to be destroyed practicing it. It’s false economics and false politics. It’s ok for you to admit this, lad .

                • balance_and_reason

                  you will have to change the record in 10.5 months….better start getting ready a new catch phrase

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Seriously, lad, it’s ok for you to admit you spoke foolishly.

  • Mike

    When you start from a very dire position, usually the only way is up and that I suspect is Camerons luck. A real test however is the genuine percentage of the population in work and in REAL jobs on substantive salaries but we don’t want to talk about that do we.

    • HookesLaw

      We talk about nothing else. And the big problem we have had in the past is getting people out of benefits into jobs which paid not much more than the benefits.
      The fact that we are seeing people move I to relatively low paid jobs strikes me as a positive thing. It is a start and we should be encouraging more of the same and supporting an economy that can move these jobs on.

      What everyone has to ask themselves is just who should do the low paid work?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and part B of that Camerluvvie question… How many immigrants can we slam across the border so as to make sure all work is low paid?

        • HookesLaw

          The point of the govt policy is to get people off benefits. 9 out of 10 new jobs went to people in the UK.
          You opinions founded as they are in redneck bigotry are worthless.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …I wonder what color neck your boy Dave will have, lad, when his head gets mounted on that spike 10.5 months from now?

            • you_kid

              SUN readers will tell you who will replace him, lad.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …is that what your sockpuppet caucus thinks, lad?

    • balance_and_reason

      Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong,…….wrong.
      Balls up was telling Osborne to do a Hollande…all the way till growth started to emerge and it became clear jobs were being created…then he s.t.f.u…no apology though…then labour moved on to class hatred and distorting poverty stats to claim everybody is starving in the UK….await further balanced documentaries in due course on the balanced Beeb and C4…

  • Last Man Standing

    So nothing about immigration, employment of immigrants, employment level of real native British people? Does it help real native British people if more and more immigrants come to the UK and work, pushing up statistics that conveniently ignore the state of real native British employment?

    • HookesLaw

      Employment of immigrants by UKIP MEPs you mean?
      Recent figures showed the 9 out of 10 new jobs went to UK workers.
      GDP per capita is growing.
      Stop blaming immigrants for a home grown disaster in the creation of an unemployable underclass.

      • Last Man Standing

        Idiot! 10 million migrants prevent real native British people getting jobs. Only someone with an obvious agenda would deny it. And it is so easy to get citizenship that in fact UK worker no longer means real native British citizen at all. This is why so many British (but not really British at all) Muslim terrorists are learning to kill in Syria.

      • Chris Morriss

        And yet in reality the 9 out of 10 tells it all. 10% of new jobs went to immigrants. And the percentage of the UK population that are new immigrants is?

        • Harvey Adcock

          If they’re working they’re stealing our jobs and if they aren’t they’re scrounging benefits we pay taxes for… On the first point if the immigrant is better qualified for/just better at/more willing to do the job than you, then you should seriously considering improving and on the second point I’m sure there are a lot more ‘home-grown’ UK residents claiming benefits than people who have come here to work.

  • London Calling

    Good news………keep it coming for sure………..:)

  • Max Tanner

    (1) Unemployment benefit map shows party political divide (The Guardian, Thursday 26 January 2012) : “Twelve of the 15 seats with highest percentage of claimants are held by Labour, while lowest claimant areas are mostly Tory or Lib Dem seats”

    (2) Coalition v shadow cabinet: whose constituencies are worse hit byunemployment? (The Guardian, Wednesday 16 March 2011) : “New research shows Labour MPs harder hit than Coalition members when it comes to unemployment in their constituencies.”

  • telemachus

    “We could soon be heading for the highest proportion of people in work since 1971. And that would be not a bad basis on which to fight the next election.”
    The % in work (72.9) is lower than under Labour before the Lehman crash

    • roger

      Still work to be done to remedy Labour’s disastrous time in government. Economy, Education, Welfare, NHS etc. etc. etc.
      However it’s heartening to see that not only are so many new jobs being created but that they are private sector jobs.Those in companies that pay taxes to sustain what had become a monstrous public sector full of non jobs under Labour.

    • balance_and_reason

      real jobs Telemuckus….not the 500,000 bogus public sector bribe jobs.

  • The BBC Sucks BBCs

    Jobs galore but how many of these are zero hours? How many have to be topped up with tax credits? How many of these jobs still leave the person having to claim housing & council tax benefit? Please shows us some graphs on wages, that’s more indicative of economic health than just jobs in my book.

    • Count Dooku

      Megalols at your username

    • balance_and_reason

      its on the graph above mate…just look up…its quite clear.

  • alabenn

    Hopefully another nail in the coffin of the Party of Liars that masquerade under the label Labour, they are still mouthing the mantra that the jobs are mainly part time.
    Now it is time for you to get a graph about the so called 10 million kids living in poverty, poverty that supposedly starts at £16000 but includes mostly families on £22000 plus, another blatant lie that newspapers allow Labour to propagate.
    Tele F off, that will save anyone stating that later.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    “We could soon be heading for the highest proportion of people in work
    since 1971. And that would be not a bad basis on which to fight the next


    Think so?

    So it’s “not a bad basis”, is it?

    It’s that sort of delusion that is going to have Dave’s head mounted on a spike 10.5 months from now.

  • Derek

    Nice idea for a story, but baselining them all at zero on the day they
    took office is highly misleading. That fails to take into account how
    good/bad the state of the economy was. Cameron took office shortly after
    the banking crash, when unemployment was high and the only way was up.
    That he has achieved these figures is as much about regression to the
    mean as it is successful economic policies.

    • ohforheavensake

      Thanks. Fraser just keeps getting basic economics wrong.

    • Rhoda Klapp8

      Only figs 1 and 5 are based on 2010, and 5 is intended to show share rather than absolute numbers.

      However, Cameron has achieved nothing. The economy did, the employers, the consuming public . The best he has done is to keep the government out of the way to some extent. And yes, regression to the mean has played a part too, in that an awful lot of a recession is people who still have jobs and money pulling their horns in through lack of confidence and natural restraint. That can be overcome merely by time and the realisation that your job is not at risk.

      • HookesLaw

        You would not be saying ‘Cameron achieved nothing’ if the figures were going the other way.

        Put your bigotry in a box in the atic for once.

        • southerner

          Bigotry? Do you actually know what that means? How does that apply to an argument about the economy?

          • HookesLaw

            What argument? There was none. If jobs were falling the bigot in question would not be saying ‘its not Cameron’s fault’, Ms Klapp would be saying its all Cameron’s fault, just as when it rains its Cameron’s fault, and so would you. That’s bigotry.
            You are all a load of howling mad loons who are incapable of any rationality, you are sleepwalking into handing govt to a crypto Marxist.
            I think that is worth a comment or two.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …well, laddie, as you’re so terrified about your fellow socialist the Millipede, all I can advise you to do is this: Don’t split the UKIP vote.

            • Rhoda Klapp8

              You are right, because largely it is in the government’s power to mess things up on the employment front, and they (of all hues) have done so. But to fix it, that is not within the direct power of government, the very best thing they can do is stop getting in the way and let the people fix it. Which is where ‘Cameron did nothing’ comes in. The private sector created the jobs. Not for the good of the nation, but in its individual instances of self-interest.

              I favour ‘Frau Klapp’, but here’s Adam Smith:

              It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker
              that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

      • balance_and_reason

        That is the point….Socialists ask..what is your industrial policy…how are you going to create jobs…they get busy…screw it up and we all pay. The skill is creating the environment that allows people and companies to create jobs. Allows people to have enough time to focus on building companies….be educated enough to achieve self reliance…..governments must achieve the balance between protecting their citizens by regulation and owning the absolute minimum of nationalised services and industry and allowing people to flourish unhindered by excessive and idiotic control. Socialism breeds corruption, delivers failure, demands a class to vote it in who contribute nothing except an ongoing bill, and a socialist vote. They are led around in fear by labour, live in misery of subservience, and prodded out to vote under threat of Tory wickedness every election.

    • kyalami

      Oh, no. It was also possible that things could have got worse after 2010. “Regression to the mean” doesn’t apply in politics.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here