Gizza job?

Posted: July 6, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

Unemployment up?  Unemployment down?  Who really knows?  Official figures released this week suggest that the number out of work is in decline.  It’s a funny old topic unemployment; a key indicator of the health of an economy.  The official Government figure is based on those receiving Job Seekers Allowance; the obtaining of which has become much harder over the years.  Once upon a time to “sign-on” was an easy, pain free procedure and dole money was handed out without much of a fuss.  Now the phrase to strike terror in to the hearts of the unemployed is that catch-all beauty; “actively seeking”.  You must fulfil this rather woolly and vague criteria before any cash benefits are awarded.  There is another measure of unemployment that is collected by the International Labour Organisation that has a wider definition of what it means to be unemployed.  The ILO figure for Britain is one million more than the Governments JSA figure.  Unemployment is a killer, a life draining spectre that haunts the work-less and their families.  It kills communities and towns and people.  Visit any old mining town that was butchered by Thatcher and the desperation and desolation is palpable.  The Daily Mail will have it that the unemployed are the feckless work-shy who are trapped by too-generous benefit levels.  It is unrealistic to pretend that these people do not exist; they do, but not in the numbers fed to us by the right wing media.  The vast majority of the unemployed want to work.  The industries that mopped-up unskilled school leavers are largely gone now and they ain’t coming back anytime soon. The Government has responded by raising the school leaving age to eighteen.  Now, this is either a masterstroke that will guarantee the skilled, flexible workforce that we need or it is a cynical attempt to massage unemployment figures down to a more politically acceptable level.  In the last twenty five years there have been thirty changes to the way in which we count unemployment.  Twenty nine of those changes have resulted in the unemployment figure being revised downwards.  Lies, damn lies and statistics…

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