Posts Tagged ‘unemployment figures’

The fall in unemployment is based on p/t working & self-employment

16/05/2012, 12:55:19 PM

by Tony Dolphin

The news that unemployment fell by 45,000 in the first three months of this year, compared to the last three months of 2011, is very welcome. It suggests the current recession in the UK – if it is not revised away when the next set of GDP data are released – is likely to be a very mild one. The drop in youth unemployment – by 18,000 in the latest three months – is further good news.

But there is reason to be cautious.

The labour market is not improving because firms are recruiting more full-time employees. It is improving because more people are taking part-time work, reluctantly, and because more people are setting themselves up in self-employment, possibly also reluctantly.

The 105,000 increase in employment in the latest quarter was more than accounted for by part-time workers. The number in full-time employment fell by 13,000. We know many of these part-time workers are unhappy because the Office for National Statistics asks part-time workers if they would prefer to be working full-time and 1,418,000 said ‘yes’ in the latest three months – the highest number since comparable records began in 1992.

Looking at the numbers differently, 90,000 of the 105,000 increase in employment in the last quarter is due to an increase in self-employment. Unfortunately, the ONS does not ask the self-employed if they would rather be working as an employee – but it is a fair bet that some of the recent increase reflects people who would rather not be self-employed but cannot find a company to employ them.

These are not new trends. The following table shows the change in employment over the last four years (i.e. comparing the first quarter of 2008, just before the recession, with the first quarter of 2012).

The big picture over this period is that total employment in the UK has fallen by just under 300,000. But the number of full-time employees is down by 800,000, while the number of part-time employees and the number of part-time self-employed people are both up by about 250,000. There has also been an increase over this period of over 700,000 in the number of people working part-time who say they are doing so because they want a full-time job.

The continuing legacy of the recession, therefore, is a labour market characterised by companies that are reluctant to take on more full-time employees and workers who are reluctantly working part-time – either for companies or for themselves.

Tony Dolphin is Chief Economist at IPPR

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Thursday News Review

14/07/2011, 06:09:13 AM

Murdoch’s mess

Rupert Murdoch has capitulated to parliament and abandoned News Corporation‘s £8bn bid for BSkyB, as he faced the prospect of appearing in front of a judicial public inquiry to salvage his personal reputation and the right for his company to continue to broadcast in the UK. After 10 days of sustained public outcry over phone hacking, and facing the prospect of a unanimous call by MPs to withdraw his bid for total ownership of the broadcaster, Murdoch succumbed at a morning board meeting in Wapping. The News Corp deputy chairman, Chase Carey, said the bid had become “too difficult to progress in this climate”. The withdrawal represents the biggest single reverse of Murdoch’s mercurial career, but may presage even further commercial damage not just in the UK, but worldwide. News Corp’s current 39% stake in BSkyB could also still be at risk from the “fit and proper” test for ownership being conducted by regulator Ofcom. On a cathartic day at Westminster in which politicians acted as if they had been liberated from the thrall of the Murdoch empire, David Cameron announced a sweeping public inquiry into widespread lawbreaking by the press, alleged corruption by police, and the failure of the initial police investigation into phone hacking. – the Guardian

Rupert Murdoch’s grand plan for a huge expansion of his media empire was in tatters last night as the ‘firestorm’ over phone hacking forced him to withdraw his bid to take over BSkyB. The tycoon shelved his £10billion offer for the satellite broadcaster as it became clear that David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband were joining forces in a Commons vote urging him to back off. It came as Mr Cameron relented in the face of intense pressure from Labour and the Liberal Democrats and agreed to a judicial inquiry into press standards, regulation and ownership, and allegations of illegal phone hacking by the News of the World and police corruption. The probe will be headed by Lord Justice Leveson, who prosecuted Britain’s worst female serial killer, Rose West. The Prime Minister said News Corporation had made ‘the right decision’ in dropping its bid to buy the 61 per cent share in BSkyB that it does not own. Mr Cameron also vowed that media executives responsible for the scandal would be barred from owning newspapers or broadcasters. ‘The people involved – whether they were directly responsible for the wrongdoing, sanctioned it, or covered it up, however high or low they go – must not only be brought to justice, they must also have no future role in the running of a media company in our country,’ he said. – Daily Mail

Summoned, but will they turn up

Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch and his son James may appear before MPs next week over the phone-hacking scandal, according to the Culture Committee’s chairman. The News International (NI) chief executive, her News Corporation boss and his son, the NI chairman, could be questioned in Westminster next Tuesday. MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Select Committee want to ask Mrs Brooks about her knowledge of alleged payments to police, Labour politician Tom Watson said. The committee also wants to quiz James Murdoch on his involvement “in authorising payments to silence” the Professional Footballers’ Association boss Gordon Taylor after his phone was hacked, Mr Watson said. Commons Culture Committee chairman John Whittingdale told Sky News he earlier understood the trio had agreed to give evidence to the committee. But he later clarified that while NI has agreed to co-operate he did not know if that extended to all three appearing before the panel of MPs. – Sky News

MPs are to meet later to decide whether to summon News International chief Rebekah Brooks to appear before them over the phone-hacking scandal. The Commons Culture Committee also wants to question News Corporation executives Rupert and James Murdoch but may be unable to compel them to appear. The company has shut down its News of the World newspaper over the scandal and dropped its bid to control BSkyB. US politicians are also demanding a probe into phone hacking allegations. On Tuesday, the Commons Culture Committee invited Ms Brooks and the Murdochs to give evidence about the phone-hacking scandal at the House of Commons. In a statement, the MPs said that serious questions had arisen about the evidence Ms Brooks and the News of the World’s former editor Andy Coulson gave at a previous hearing in 2003. – BBC News

Gordon goes for it

After years of being courted by Mr Brown and other senior Labour figures, the tabloid dramatically announced it was switching its allegiance to David Cameron’s Conservatives. “Labour’s lost it” proclaimed the best-selling daily paper, alongside a big picture of Gordon Brown. The announcement was timed to cause maximum embarrassment to Labour and dominated the headlines on the day after the then Prime Minister’s keynote conference speech. As a result, Mr Brown is alleged to have said that he would “destroy” Rupert Murdoch. Yesterday, we discovered that during this period in 2009 Mr Brown attempted to order an independent inquiry into the growing allegations of phone hacking at News International. He was blocked by the country’s most senior civil servant, partly on the basis that it was just months before a general election. However, it now appears that Mr Brown secretly orchestrated — or at the very least supported — a campaign among Labour MPs to bring public attention to the phone hacking scandal. On Monday, with political opinion virtually united against Mr Murdoch, Mr Brown finally decided to break cover and “go public” over his alleged long-held concerns over News International’s activities. He spoke of his “tears” at allegations that his son’s medical records had been hacked by The Sun, at the time edited by Rebekah Brooks, and, for good measure, accused another Murdoch paper, The Sunday Times, of hacking his bank accounts. – Daily Telegraph (more…)

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