Claimant count falls in July post Brexit vote – another gloomy forecast bites the dust

The latest excellent figures for employment and jobs include the good news that in July the claimant count fell further. All those who shifted their forecast of job losses from the uncertainty of run up to the vote to the immediate aftermath of the vote have been proved wrong on both counts.


  1. Anthony Makara
    August 17, 2016

    Yes and if we quit the single market and build up import substitutes we can create more jobs. The myth that we are dependent on the EU for jobs has been the main scare tactic of Remain supporters, if anything the EU costs jobs, ask our farmers and fishermen.

    1. libertarian
      August 17, 2016

      Anthony Makara

      The EU costs jobs in the new digital technologies too with its endless meddling and trying to control the Internet and to push around the giant US digital Companies. Without it ever dawning on them that nearly all the EU industry is old tech industries

    2. Lifelogic
      August 17, 2016

      Indeed if they want to tax our exports away then divert these elsewhere or to the home market.

      We buy more from them after all.

    3. David Lister
      August 17, 2016

      These numbers are great news. At this rate we will be at full employment soon, all whilst we are members of the EU.

  2. alan jutson
    August 17, 2016

    And we still have uncertainty about when we are going to leave and on what terms !

    Perhaps when our Government make up their mind, we may have even better news, in the meantime we still contribute nearly a £ One Billion a month to the EU, which could be better spent here in the UK.

    Surely time for action, we have had enough words.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 17, 2016

      Well Mrs May is still out with her walking poles round Switzerland isn’t she? About time she at least set a sense of direction. Just saying Brexit means Brexit is meaningless. Is the new government going to be a proper Conservative government or another LibDem disaster like Major, Cameron & Osborne’s.

    2. rose
      August 17, 2016

      The BBC in the form of Martha Kearney had a guest on today to try and reinterpret the news on unemployment. He said apprenticeships were down, because of uncertainty, and that the remedy was tax cuts. So then she quickly cut him off, said goodbye, and put out a health warning to the listeners, that tax cuts would be very controversial with them.

    3. brian
      August 18, 2016

      It’s too early to judge the effect of the Brexit vote on the economy. Did any forecaster say the complete effects would be immediate?
      Untangling our relationship with the EU is very complicated. Government needs time to gear up with staff to work on it and to choose a preferred new relationship. The vote was only two months ago.

  3. ian wragg
    August 17, 2016

    O/T I see from Open Europe that Mrs. may has written to China to reassure them over Hinckley point. I hope she doesn’t feel pressurised just to please China. They don’t get a vote at elections.
    If the project was to go ahead, just how much of the £18 billion would be spent in the UK.
    I was involved in several joint French Power projects and they imported Spanish and Portuguese labour living in barrack style accommodation.

  4. Antisthenes
    August 17, 2016

    This good news I note is attracting that “despite Brexit” prefix in considerable quantities when being reported. Can we not just have the news reported and be allowed to think what we want to think about it and not have some biased reporter or vested interest try and make us think what they want us to think.

  5. Lifelogic
    August 17, 2016

    Indeed it was all a massive attempted con job by most of the state sector, Cameron, the Bank of England, the universities & academics, many “charities”, Sir John Major and especially the dreadful George Osborne. This to threaten and frighten the public and thus any residual UK democracy that remained for ever.

    We are yet to see if we do actually manage to escape. Very few positive signs of a change of direction from this new government as yet, many signalling the wrong direction entirely. Just saying “Brexit means Brexit” mean nothing.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 17, 2016

      I missed out the BBC who (perhaps together with Osborne) were the worst offenders of all. Furthermore they are still continuing with their absurd remain propaganda. We are far from out yet.

      1. Bob
        August 18, 2016

        The R4 Toady programme Remoaning is practically non-stop !
        They even had a JP Morgan Remoaner on air this morning, to talk the pound down further.

        Mr Whittingdale has let us down quite badly.

        Between the BBC and the BoE, they are determined to undermine Brexit.

  6. agricola
    August 17, 2016

    You give plausible explanations of what is going on in the bond market. Something I confess I know little about, but it does have an air of unreality about it.

    What I would be most interested in is an explanation of why Sterling is at an almost all time low against the Euro. We know that the Greek, Italian, and Portuguese economies are in a very poor state as are their banks. Additionally we read that the Spanish, French and even German banks are under great pressure. All this must make the Euro a very Iffy currency.

    So tell us what is going on. Is it another Libor scam, officially sanctioned so that exchanges can make a killing at some time in the future. It does not equate with all the other good news you are feeding us. Please enlighten us.

    Reply The Eurozone runs a balance of payments surplus and the UK runs a large deficit – that’s part of the explanation.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 17, 2016

      Also the pount is weak as the new May Government has not indicated that they are moving towards a growth agenda with a smaller government, cheap energy, a bonfire of red tape, lower taxes and the likes. They just seem to want more of the dire tax till the pips squeek Osborne agenda (or at best are just dithering pathetically).

    2. agricola
      August 17, 2016

      There must be more to it than that. We have had a large deficit for the past fifteen years or so. It has been no secret so why the sudden perceived value of sterling as opposed to six months ago.

      1. acorn
        August 17, 2016

        Possibly there are thoughts that the Brits will want to keep up their current level of imports, but may run up against EU external trade tariffs, that could knock back UK exports initially.

        Free floating currencies would normally see exchange rates move to reduce an imports minus exports gap. But there is a lot of currency speculation that has nothing to do with trade.

        As a large importer, the UK is importing a lot of other countries unemployment. Those other countries would wish the UK to keep importing; and, they are prepared to “save” quantities of Pounds Sterling which their central banks will call “foreign exchange reserves”.

        The whip hand you get as a large importer with a reasonable currency, is you start to own a portion of foreign work forces, for instance, the ones making BMWs. If the UK currency drops too low, we will buy less of them BMWs. That’s when Germany tells Mr Draghi at the ECB, to buy up spare Pounds Sterling; keep its exchange value up, so Brits can keep buying them BMWs.

  7. bigneil
    August 17, 2016

    Claimant numbers go down? So every single person who rolls in here legally through our non-existent borders are coming straight into a job? I never realised we needed so many cash-in-hand/non-tax-paying/car washers. They may not be on the claimants lists, but free NHS is still a massive cost to the ever decreasing %age of the population who have to pay for it.

  8. Lindsay McDougall
    August 17, 2016

    The evidence is mounting that hyper-inflation is on its way because of the BoE’s monetary policy.

    CPI has risen to 0.6% (July figures) This is not due to the Brexit vote. In earlier months, CPI had accelerated from 0.0% to 0.3% to 0.5%.

    RPI has also risen. The story is the same.

    House prices are rising at a faster rate (June figures).

    Real wages are rising (July figures).

    Employment is rising and unemployment is falling (June figures).

    The FTSE 100 has risen dramatically and sterling has fallen. These effects have accelerated since the BoE cut base rates and raised more QE.

    Those are real data. What about the unreal data?

    The NIESR has said that UK GDP fell by 0.2% in July. How do they know? It is the ONS who hold the data. They estimate GDP growth quarterly in arrears, and revise their initial estimate twice before they are satisfied.

    There was a rushed purchase managers’ survey which showed low activity in July. I want to see more than one month’s statistics and I also want to see retail sales data.

    The evidence for pre-Brexit vote inflation, now accelerating, is strong. The evidence for economic downturn is weak to non-existent.

    1. Malcolm Lidierth
      August 18, 2016

      The BoE’s target for CPI is 2% and has been for some years – albeit one that has been consistently missed. AFAIK, no new target has been set . If thats so, moving towards 2% would be a matter of policy, not a Brexit side-effect.

      1. Denis Cooper
        August 18, 2016

        Hammond has confirmed to the Bank that the target is still 2% pa:

        “I confirm that the government’s commitment to the current regime of flexible inflation targeting, with an operational target of 2% CPI inflation, remains absolute.”

        The Bank was successful in keeping inflation close to target for some years -the first Open Letter of explanation that the Governor had to send to the Chancellor was in April 2007:

        But since it went wrong it has never really been put right.

      2. Lindsay McDougall
        August 18, 2016

        If you’re going to control money supply by targetting inflation, you need to select the right inflation index. CPI includes only the things that the ‘common man’ spends money on. A sensible index would also include the prices of things that the rich and the professional classes spend money on – houses, fine wines, motor cars, gold etc etc. You get my drift.

        While we are about it, why is a 2% inflation target better than 0%? The idea of 2.5% or 2% was espoused by those woolly minded 3rd way thinkers Harold MacMillan and Tony Blair – hardly impressive thinkers. I’ve invited John Redwood and many others to respond to this point many times, but there has been no answer.

        Anyway, inflation won’t stop at 2%. Sometime, in the next two years, it will go higher.

        Did you notice how the latest inflation figures were explained by the media. Apparantly, they were in part caused by a rise in second hand car prices. That is nonsense. Rising second hand car prices are an EFFECT of inlation, not a cause. Too much money causes inflation.

  9. Denis Cooper
    August 17, 2016

    In a similar vein I see in the Telegraph today:

    “Price of farmland falls as concerns over future of EU payments stifle the market”

    Strangely enough a few days ago I happened across this article on the same subject:

    according to which:

    “farmland values in 2016 dropped for just the second time in almost three decades”.

    The differences being:

    a) The second article is about farmland values in another country:

    “U.S. Farmland Prices Fall $10 an Acre in First Drop Since 2009”

    b) The second article does not attempt to attribute this decline to our vote to leave the EU, not even in part:

    “U.S. farmland values in 2016 dropped for just the second time in almost three decades after grain and soybean prices extended a slump, eroding grower profit and capping a decade-long boom when land costs jumped 65%.”

    compared to the Telegraph’s analysis:

    “Demand for farmland dropped sharply in the first six months of 2016 as falling commodities prices and the threat of losing European Union subsidies dampened confidence.”

    Meanwhile the collapse of sterling after the Brexit vote has already caused rampant price inflation, with YOY CPI soaring from 0.5% in June to 0.6% in July, and shockingly that is the highest since November 2014.

    It so happens that in November 2014 it was 1.0%, while in December 2014 it was 0.5% and then dropped down as low as -0.1% before starting to rise in the autumn of 2015, long before there was even much of a prospect of an EU referendum let alone an actual vote to leave, but that slow upward trend over more recent months is disregarded in the effort to make a spurious point about the consequences of our folly on June 23rd.

    With so much tiresome, deceitful nonsense about this from the mass media that I wonder whether the NUJ has issued some kind of directive.

    1. Roy Grainger
      August 17, 2016

      You shouldn’t bother with Bloomberg. In a crowded field they are the most rabidly anti-Brexit media organisation there is. They have daily scare stories about the unfolding apocalypse as they see it. Compared with them the Guardian is almost balanced only managing a feeble “surprising” or “for the moment” when reporting good economic news. I use Bloomberg’s data on a daily basis so sadly can’t avoid seeing their propaganda.

  10. Sir Joe Soap
    August 17, 2016

    Yes, Clegg and Co wrong by just over 3 million jobs then. Frankly there’s more chance of 3 million more jobs than 3 million less.

    1. Anthony Makara
      August 17, 2016

      When is Gleggover moving to Spain to live next door to Pepa Flores? I think you may well be dead right about 3 Million more jobs, that factoring out the Migrant Labour too, if we get our act together we can become The Alternative to buying from the EU especially if we deregulate to drive down costs. We know the EU will always be top heavy with taxes and making life hell for producers and consumers in the Eurozone. Brexit is our chance to provide a little healthy competition for the EU.

  11. Peter Parsons
    August 17, 2016

    Claimant figures are a lagging indicator of economic activity, not a leading indicator. Furthermore, the figures in question cover a time period which includes both before and after the referendum. The idea that any conclusion about the impact of the referendum can be drawn from them is not credible.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      August 18, 2016

      So the scare stories promising immediate disaster were also untrue?

      1. Peter Parsons
        August 18, 2016

        Yes. The referendum campaign was, quite frankly, awful all around on both sides.

        The consequences of the outcome were always going to be longer term, such as the major banks all downgrading the economy for next year:

        and the longer the politicians sit around without getting on with it, the worse it will be.

  12. Mark Watson
    August 17, 2016

    Makes the Bank of England rate cut and stimulus package seem a lot premature.

  13. acorn
    August 17, 2016

    We won’t see the effect of Brexit till the first quarter of next year.

  14. Mark B
    August 17, 2016

    Good news. But things are still too early.

    The government needs to get a move on and announce what plans it has. The longer things are left, the more uncertainty there is. And if there is one thing guaranteed to undermine business confidence, then that it is it !!

    1. fedupsoutherner
      August 17, 2016

      Mark B. Yes, you only have to look at Scotland to see what happens when you have uncertainty in the markets. Falling retail sales, and inactivity all round.

  15. formula57
    August 17, 2016

    How irresponsible of the Government to allow these employment figures to be released for they might well be seen by Messrs Renzi, Hollande and Rajoy (amongst others) who in consequence may wish to emulate a Brexit for their own countries.

    It will be easier for the UK to deal with those countries if they are tethered to the ailing EU and so we should encourage them to stay and go down with the sinking ship. (Mrs May can threaten they will be at the back of the queue if they chose to exit.)

  16. Antisthenes
    August 17, 2016

    Another prefix that we constantly hear about Brexit economic news is “despite most economists predicting” followed by the suffix “it has not happened”. I now know how to predict economic events just believe the opposite of what the majority of economists forecast. I believe there are more economists of the Keynes, Krugman, Blanchflour, Picketty type that is of the left than of the Hayek, Mises, Robarth or Adam smith type so it is no wonder they always get it wrong.

  17. Erik Borg
    August 17, 2016

    How do you feel about the article in today’s Financial Times ( about a hospital in Somerset that had recruited heavily in the EU. About 12 % of their staff are international, and as the director of the hospital said after the vote, he “was aware of “a certain nervousness” among international staff with “lots of little whispered conversations between EU doctors”. At my university, there have been similar conversations among lecturers. Essentially, the feeling is, “We know we’re not wanted; we need to make other plans.”

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      August 18, 2016

      You have a communication problem then. That is a result of the scare stories of remainers. Brexit people have always been in favour of legally settled, working immigrants. I don’t think many Poms in Australia feel the way you describe, and if they do they’ll come back.

      I have told our EU employees:

      a/nothing of consequence will affect them for at least 2 years
      b/ at some stage in the future they might be required to choose between permanent residency or UK citizenship and returning home

      They seem to accept that at face value
      Anything else is hyperbole

    2. Denis Cooper
      August 18, 2016

      You might think lecturers would have the brains to see that a) now they have been allowed to come to lecture here it is very unlikely that they will be told to go home and b) if they are good they would probably have been allowed to come to lecture here under any sensible points based system which may apply in the future.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 18, 2016


      2. SecretPeople
        August 21, 2016

        They would certainly meet the earnings threshold criterion.

    3. Edward2
      August 18, 2016

      I cannot understand their worries because the new PM has said several times that the Goverment will not repatriate any EU nationals already here.
      Of course they are welcome.
      We hope the same continued welcome will be extended to all UK citezens now working and living in the EU

    4. Anonymous
      August 18, 2016

      Lies told by Remainers. We Leavers want pointed immigration – not uncontrolled immigration. Of course these people are wanted !

  18. JohnF
    August 17, 2016

    Still too early to measure any effect from the Brexit vote. The employment figures only cover the 3 month period up until the end of June.

    Reply The claimant figures are post Brexit!

    1. JohnF
      August 17, 2016

      Reply The claimant figures are post Brexit!

      Ok – fair enough. My fault for not reading your post carefully enough.

    August 17, 2016

    The first thing the TV journalist said after this news was to say: But…it doesn’t account for plans put on hold for new developments .. ” So, it will be rosy indeed when those people responsible for forward planning finally pull their fingers out. Then they can be sacked for losing money by failure to invest in the interim, hopefully.

  20. Yosarion
    August 17, 2016

    So much for Mays new promise to secure jobs, I see the BBC is to Fire the Met Office for a Dutch Company because its cheaper, look forward to all those overpaid Newsreaders to get the chop.

    1. Chris
      August 18, 2016

      I thought Meteogroup was a UK company?

  21. Kevin
    August 17, 2016

    None of this news, of course, should be taken as implying that Brexit depends not on the democratic will but on never-ending economic contentment. After all, JR recently reminded us of “the UK’s ignominious trip to the IMF in 1976 to borrow money”. That is, economic ignominy befell us within one year of the first “E.U.” referendum. Would any die-hard Remain campaigner care to make an association there?

    1. acorn
      August 18, 2016

      James Callaghan and his Chancellor Denis Healey. Probably an even worse combination than Cameron and Osborne. There was no need to go to the IMF for a loan whatsoever. Callaghan and Healey knew nothing about macroeconomics, yet the UK’s Dickensian democracy, allowed these two, to attain the highest offices in the land!

      The sad bit is nothing has changed.

  22. fedupsoutherner
    August 17, 2016

    Brexit is so slow in coming that I wonder if the government are waiting for a global recession to happen, it would prove them right and then say that we cannot leave as it would not be in the best interest of Britain. It would also be blamed largely on Brexit.

  23. Margaret
    August 17, 2016

    We will see the effect of Brexit when we Brexit.

  24. ken moore
    August 17, 2016

    Not content with destroying returns from the bond markets which are the bedrock of the pension industry, policymakers have also destroyed investors ability to evaluate risk. Risk has been priced down to virtually zero.

    I suspect a factor in the job figures is that monetary policy keeps throwing a lifeline to badly run, outdated and unsustainable businesses in the form of ultra cheap money.

    So we have massive misalocation of capital and the destruction of pesnion provision for an ageing population…nice work policymakers and shame on the Mp’s that arent properly holding the treasury to account over this.

  25. Juliet
    August 22, 2016

    ONS reported Claimants fell by 8,600 in the month, compared with an increase of 900 in June. This is a +/- unemployment rate is down, less people claiming more people in work. But I would also want to know more about how they arrived at this figure based on geographics and type of claimants, because a lot more people came into the UK in 2015 from EU A8 countries that were unaccounted for

    ONS reported change in claimants for 2015 / 2016:
    aug (+0.3%)
    sep (-1.3%) oct (-1.1%) nov (-3.2%) dec (-16.8%)
    claimants dropped Q1’2016
    jan (-28.6%) feb (- 9.3%)
    claimants increased
    mrh (+14.7%) apr (+6.4%) may (+12.2%) jun (+0.9%)
    dropped again after the referendum
    july 2016 (-8.6%) at the same time the pound was sliding and the usual scaremongering top Banks issues : “Brexit would push up unemployment and likely prevent upward wage growth pressures from building, forcing households to be more prudent, resulting in a material slowing in private consumption”

    Brexit was a wake-up call to EU to highlight a broken system. Brexit was never the problem, it did not have the same affect as the banking crisis of 2008; all of the above issues existed before Brexit. We survived two recessions, suffered economic slowdown, experienced up/down unemployment rates, no wage growth, rise in living standards, council spending cuts, austerity and since 2004 UK continued to intake year on year huge surge in population from EU A8, and in 2007 A2 countries happened as well.

    Freedom of movement from A8, A2 is no longer sustainable (London is a good example: overspill from towns into leafy suburbs have changed communities overnight, in 5 years we’ve gone from family oriented friendly neighbourhoods, to people jumping on the band-wagon ‘buy-2-let landlords’ not bothered with overcrowding renting out their 2-3 bed properties cramming in 10-15 people & more, anti-social behaviour, overcrowding in public services); communities have changed and not for the better, the referendum highlighted this in a big way

    The claimants stats are a distortion of what really is happening. UK is an island yet 44,000 workers migrated from EU A8, A2 countries (Czech Rep. Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania) to the UK in 2015

    If you can’t control number of people migrating into UK, you can’t plan … If you can’t measure the economy, you can’t make good policies. Assuming 44,000 EU A8 A2 workers were either single/couple with or without dependents, assuming we’re measuring flow
    1. employed in skilled professional jobs
    2. low-skilled minimum* wage jobs & claim other benefits
    3. unemployed & looking for jobs, claim full benefits

    If A8 workers are on minimum wage or less pay virtually no net tax, not contributing, or not in work adds pressure to already stretched public services (housing, schools education, healthcare, transport, infrastructure etc.,) at the expense of people who have always contributed into the system.

    There are far too many unregulated online recruitment businesses, limited companies that were established after 2004 by Polish EU nationals living in UK, who are set-up to supply and source workers directly from eastern european A8 countries into low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs across UK, Scotland, Ireland & Wales.

    One particular recruiter typically churns out job specs written in English or Polish specifically discriminate against UK citizens, referring to
    – Polish workers wanted for ‘xyz’ roles
    – pay rates £7-9 per/hr with free accommodation paid by employers**
    – free travel from Europe to UK
    – NINO help

    ** people renting accommodation without obtaining references

    Some UK businesses are heavily reliant on minimum wage workers, they are enabling unregulated recruiters to stay in business, to promote / attract cheaper labour from A8 A2 countries that is seriously saturating the UK job market. A8 workers are filling roles in hospitality, home care assistants, domestics, security guards, receptionist, factory production, pickers, HGV drivers, sales assistants, building & construction, site & plant engineers etc.

    Jobs that were previously undertaken by UK citizens and advertised by the job centre’s, are filled as soon as the role is available because of unregulated firms synphoning off jobs from job centre and advertising directly to A8 audience what UK citizen would think of going onto a Polish recruitment website to apply for a job in the UK

    Knock on effect, low-wage/low-skilled jobs in UK are being monopolised by east european A8 A2 workers because UK citizens are kept out of the loop. There are the jobs that never get advertised in UK job centres or on regulated UK recruitment websites

    UK citizens are being prized out of the UK low-wage/low-skilled job market because they are not given the opportunity to apply/compete for unadvertised roles. Clamping down on recruiters/businesses that exploit, discriminate and bypass eligible capable UK candidates needs to be urgently addressed, it’s an obvious concern that keeps being overlooked.

    We should be working to reduce UK unemployment and get more unemployed people into full-time, part-time jobs and apprenticeships, build & invest in skilled workers in trade & services, construction & building industry, instead of absorbing EU A8 A2 workers as a replacement workforce, stop creating an easy platform for unemployed workers from EU A8 A2 countries who can cherry pick UK jobs up and down the country, remove the cog lessen the pull-factor.

    We should stop restricting and limiting job opportunities for UK citizens who clearly want to work and are struggling to find the jobs in their local or regional areas because they are not readily on offer.

    What’s going to happen when low-wage/low-skilled market becomes completely saturated. We should be thinking about getting more UK citizens into work …

    And not forgetting
    – vocational on-job trainees
    – school/college leavers
    – students (funding university stay)
    – mothers return to work (part-time)
    – older people (not yet retired)
    – redundant (in between jobs)
    – seasonal workers
    – homeless

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