UK employment continues to grow to new record levels

The UK has  302,000 more jobs than a year ago, in today’s employment figures. There are 2.7m more jobs than in 2010.  The UK’s employment rate, at 75%, is around the German level, and well above France at 65%  and Italy at 57%.

I doubt we will hear these figures on the main news bulletins. All those who tell me a country has to  be in the single market to prosper, have to explain two inconvenient  facts. Why are Greece, Portugal, Spain and other countries in the single market so cursed with mass unemployment? Why do countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Singapore and the USA flourish with low unemployment by EU standards whilst not being in the single market?


  1. Denis Cooper
    February 15, 2017

    This cannot be so, for are we not still in the middle of the year long recession threatened by Osborne and Cameron if we dared to cock a snook at them by voting to leave the EU?

    “New Treasury analysis shows a vote to leave the EU would tip Britain’s economy into a year-long recession.”

    “Britain’s economy would be tipped into a year-long recession, with at least 500,000 jobs lost and GDP around 3.6% lower, following a vote to leave the EU, new Treasury analysis launched today by the Prime Minister and Chancellor shows.

    Speaking at B&Q in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the Prime Minister and Chancellor set out the Treasury’s analysis of the impact on the nation’s economy over the immediate period of two years following a vote to leave.”

    1. Jerry
      February 16, 2017

      Denis Cooper, of course it can be true, after all there are statistics, dammed statistics and lies – in other words figures can be made to show what ever the authors want the under-informed, gulable and partisan to believe.

      The real question is how gainfully employed those 2.7m since 2010 are, even HMT accept that many are not in full time employment, even by the DWPs own standard, 16 hours of more being considered full time employment!

      As for your comment about Brexit and any economic effects, how many more times do people like you need to be told, we have not had Brexit yet (and will like not before March 2019), stop counting chickens, those Brexit eggs could still become rotten rather than hatch…

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 16, 2017

        Read what it says, Jerry – the predicted immediate recession was to be the consequence of just the vote for Brexit, not of Brexit itself.

      2. a-tracy
        February 17, 2017

        “A part-time worker is someone who works fewer hours than a full-time worker. There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time, but a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week.”

        Workers are considered to be part-time if they commonly work fewer than 30 hours per week.

        For Income Support (IS) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), you are classed as working full time (and therefore not eligible for the benefit) if you do 16 hours or more paid work per week. Your partner is allowed to do paid work of up to 24 hours per week.

        1. Jerry
          February 17, 2017

          @Denis Cooper; Except that we have already seen a down-turn in certain parts or aspects of the economy, and did so on the day the result of the referendum was declared.

          @a-tracy; You point being what?… Other than to agree with me that the rules state that for the DWP if someone does more than 15hr 59mins hours of paid (and in some cases unpaid) work they are considered by the DWP to be in full-time work/employment – and as the DWP are a department of government and as they also work in partnership with HMT you are wrong, there is a specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time. Indeed some in-work benefits can not be claimed if the would-be claimant is not working a minimum number of hours, and can prove so.

          Reply Since the vote GNP up, employment up, retail sales up, car output up, housebuilding up, public spending up,house prices up etc. No need to lie about our economic progress

          1. Jerry
            February 18, 2017

            JR reply; But how do we know all that is not what many might call a ‘dead cat bounce’, people and industry spending today on what they fear they might not be able to afford (or indeed make today what we might not be able to sell) tomorrow. Time will be the judge, not partisan politicos or even bloggers, even more so as we have not yet had (real) Brexit. Your optimism is thus a little previous, indeed much of what you appear to be attributing to Brexit might just be pre-referendum (or perhaps even 2010-15 coalition) policies working through the system.

            “No need to lie about our economic progress”

            But every wish to be selective about what facts are talked about, funny how you did not mention that the value of the GBP tanked post referendum result, and has not yet fully recovered, which would be expected if there were no long(er) term fears over Brexit.

            Yours and others mode of operation still seems to be; celibate the plus points, sweep the negative ones under the carpet… But that will likely be Brexit’s (or any policy positions) undoing, for there is no carpet to hide such dirt under any more in the internet age, unlike 20 plus years ago.

            Reply I have written at length about the pound, which fell a long way July 2015 to April 2016, and then a bit further post the vote. It is mainly the result of US/UK interest rate differentials which the Bank made worse by a needless cut in rates.

          2. Denis Cooper
            February 18, 2017

            Jerry, why don’t you take the trouble to read what the Treasury predicted, not as a consequence of Brexit but of just the vote for Brexit, and for the economy as a whole not just parts of it?

  2. Brit
    February 15, 2017

    The BBC oddly interviewed some American in their London studio today. When the American stated that possibly people from the Trump administration had spoken to Russians, the BBC interviewer did not reply typically as we British would “So what? ” Nor did the interviewer perhaps more diplomatically say “Well, as you know some people say the Republican Party is in a few ways equivalent to the Tory Party and no-one would find it noteworthy if any of them had spoken to Russians. Even in Soviet days HRH The Princess Anne went privately to Moscow showjumping. It was taken for granted she may have spoken to Russians.” Then await what the American would say in reply.The BBC should not humour hysteria when it is manifesting itself in their London studio even if they humour it when interviewing in America.

    1. Anonymous
      February 16, 2017

      The BBC wants Trump out and Brexit stopped.

      If I were Trump I’d be putting Britain to the back of the queue now and saying that it’s the BBC’s fault. They really are playing with fire.

      1. Jerry
        February 17, 2017

        @Anonymous; Oh do stop trying to bash the BBC all the time, all you do is show just how ill-informed you are! The only media outlets playing with fire are those who are supporting Trump without question.

  3. libertarian
    February 15, 2017

    As I have been telling this board for some time the job creation machine has a way to go yet and we should be at 4.7% unemployment in the next quarter. The only likely problems here are the massive skills shortages of people to do the jobs or if the government does something silly

    And hey ho what do the idiots do? This so called Conservative Gov ( which hates small business with a vengence) has implemented another tax via workplace pensions, raised the national min wage again, and now introduced a massive increase in business rates ( that were already way to high) and added a BID levy on top of the rates in selected places. They have also instructed HMRC to have another go at self employed people having already implemented IR35 and caused the closing of 300,000 businesses.

    What is it with politicians hating small business & the self employed? The very people that have saved this and the previous governments sorry arses

    1. Mitchel
      February 15, 2017

      “What is it with politicians hating small business & the self employed?”

      Remember Lenin’s famous rallying cry :”Kill the kulaks,all of them!”

      The modern leftist state requires dependency on it (or the large corporations which own it) and cannot tolerate the prospect of widespread self-sufficiency.

    2. Mark B
      February 15, 2017

      looking after the interests of their future employers perhaps ?

    3. alan jutson
      February 15, 2017


      “what is it with politicians hating small business and the self employed”

      Simple, they regard them as a threat to their own organised World, because they are free spirits who are difficult to control, the fact that many of them are successful (not all) is exactly because they think outside the box and are self sufficient, and that simply does not register with most politicians because they believe we must all fit into a box of their making.

      Self employment should be encouraged, not persecuted, but that is exactly what is happening with some of the mindless tax and regulation type decisions that you mention.

      If we make running your own business too hard and too expensive, with endless regulation and complicated taxation of all kinds, then people will either move elsewhere, give up, or will never attempt a start up.

      Quite shameful really, because even now if every other self employed person or small business could employ just one extra person, then in theory our unemployment figure would be Zero.

  4. TL
    February 15, 2017

    Politicians travel around at tax payer expense looking for innovation and best practice, and so they should. So why is it that the EU not been replicated by other countries wanting big ‘single markets’?

    Just a thought.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 15, 2017

      What make you think politicians are looking for best practice? Best for whom, the politicians & bureaucrats or the public/voters? They are usually just having a free holiday at your expense. Rarely are these beanos held anywhere unpleasant?

    2. hefner
      February 16, 2017

      Just a thought, indeed. Ever heard of ASEAN or MERCOSUR?

  5. fedupsoutherner
    February 15, 2017

    Strangely John, I just said this to my husband before reading your post. I do think controlled immigration has also got a lot to do with it. They are all successful because they don’t take in anybody that isn’t of some use to them and the numbers are limited. Stark contrast to Europe and the UK.

  6. Mark B
    February 15, 2017

    If it was not for the fact that the UK takes a lot of skilled, but otherwise unemployed labour from other EU member countries, then:

    1) Our unemployement figures would be lower and,

    2) Their unemployment figures would be much higher.

  7. Original Richard
    February 15, 2017

    With a trade deficit with the EU of £70bn+ each year and rising why is it assumed by everyone that membership of the Single Market was good for our economy and that after Brexit a free trade deal with the EU along the lines of the “Single Market” deal will be better for the UK than trading on WTO terms ?

  8. NHSGP
    February 15, 2017

    1. How many of the new jobs went to economic migrants?

    2. How many went to Brits?

    3. How many Brits are unemployed?

    4. How many economic migrants are unemployed?

    Without the numbers you can’t have a sensible discussion.

    Oh, I forget. The government doesn’t record the figures.

    Don’t ask, don’t tell eh

    1. Ken Moore
      February 15, 2017

      The number of British born workers in employment has fallen according to official figures. This group is being displaced from the jobs market.

  9. ian
    February 15, 2017

    In the express today they say, 431,000 overseas workers got jobs hear but british workers went down by 120,000, surly fake news, if not what can be done.

    1. Anonymous
      February 16, 2017

      And how much do they earn (how much tax do they pay ???)

      Bums on seats does not mean hands in pockets. Ask any cafe’ owner.

  10. Original Richard
    February 15, 2017

    “I doubt we will hear these (increased employment) figures on the main news bulletins”

    This is possibly because the news bulletins do not want to highlight the immigration figures.

    To quote the ONS report ‘UK labour market: Feb 2017’ :

    “Looking at the estimates by nationality, between October to December 2015 and October to December 2016:

    UK nationals working in the UK increased by 70,000 to 28.44 million

    non-UK nationals working in the UK increased by 233,000 to 3.48 million”

  11. Rainyday
    February 15, 2017

    Although it’s frustrating how facts are being ignored etc, what I keep in the front of my mind is that Leave won and Clinton lost. Two unimaginable happenings.
    Leave won and Clinton lost.

  12. Richard1
    February 15, 2017

    The Response to this from leftists would be to say these are low quality jobs – productivity is low in the U.K. Look at France where productivity is high (presumably if you have low employment levels but protected high pay you get high prodcutivity – not sure how useful the measure therefore is).

    1. Peter Parsons
      February 16, 2017

      Productivity is about output delivered. You can only pay people more if they are able to deliver more economic output to cover that additional cost.

      The studies show that the average French worker produces more more hour than the average UK worker. Given this, surely it is worth trying to understand what they are doing to deliver this better output. The same for Germany, where productivity is even higher than France.

      1. Richard1
        February 16, 2017

        I agree its not totally obvious. But if for example French agricultural workers produce a lot of produce at prices artificially inflated due to the CAP is that a good or bad thing? Likewise German car workers, whose market is protected by external tariffs but who are highly competitive within the tariff wall. I dont have the answer. We should ask JR…

        1. Peter Parsons
          February 17, 2017

          I’d just highlight that UK workers are, at present, under the same conditions you outline, but are still less productive. There must be other factors at play.

          Are UK companies less willing to invest in training and automation? Do differences in the labour market and employment t’s and c’s play a factor? Do the UK’s adversarial systems (political and legal, which filter through to employment relations) have a negative impact compared to countries where cooperation, collaboration and mediation are more fundamental mechanisms in the state apparatus?

  13. Stephen Almond
    February 15, 2017

    If we have alarmingly high immigration levels, isn’t it likely that employment numbers will rise?
    Even if only 10% of immigrants found jobs, the total number of people in employment would rise.
    Why not bring 500,000 people from Iraq into the country. Employment numbers will rise once more!I
    t is a totally useless measure of anything sensible.

    1. Ken Moore
      February 16, 2017

      Well said Stephen Almond. The employment numbers figures are about as useless GDP which measures government borrowing aswell as useful goods and services.
      I suspect JR knows this but like his government, is just desperate to trumpet any good news about the economy. It’s easy to see how the economy has been turned into a Ponzi scheme by politicians endlessly trying to grab a good headline.
      Pity the poor saps who will have to pay for the roads and hospitals needed to accommodate all these newcomers with either non existent or jobs that pay a pittance.
      Come on JR – I know your a busy man but you can do a better than this..

  14. Juliet
    February 15, 2017

    Unemployment decreased by 7,000, not really a change in unemployment figures of 1.6 million, if number of foreign born workers increased by 400k, demonstrates surge in population growth, 90k workers came from Romania and Bulgaria in December.

  15. John
    February 15, 2017

    The fastest growing employment group are high skilled globally mobile workers. Because they intend eventually to return home they don’t spend as much in the countries they work in, instead choosing to save much and often offshore. So we loose tax revenue and productivity.

    Our productivity is being hit at both ends, Personal tax free allowance of £11000 attracting low skilled, so we need something to materialise more of the value of hosting ex pat workers.

  16. Jack
    February 15, 2017

    Rising unemployment in Scotland, though. Also there’s still 1.6million unemployed that shouldn’t be.

    Budget deficit is far too small.

  17. rose
    February 15, 2017

    “Why are Greece, Portugal, Spain and other countries in the single market so cursed with mass unemployment?”

    Watching the EU Parliamentary debate in Strasbourg on Guy Verhofstadt’s report on the future of the EU, we were struck by just how many dissenters there were. For example, 3 different sorts of Italian dissenter, all young. As each representative got up to denounce the Verhofstadt nightmare, the message was the same: the euro has to go. Except for the Germans and the Rapporteurs.

  18. John B
    February 16, 2017

    And… despite Brexit.

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