From the TUC

Conservative unemployment analysis: further update

19 Oct 2009, by in Labour market

Evan Price believes that I should be spending my time tackling the impacts of the recession rather than picking holes in Conservative analysis. But it’s my view that the interests of working people are best served when policy debate draws upon accurate understandings of data trends. In this case, unemployment rate data show that, so far, rates increased faster during the 1980s than the current recession (despite GDP falling more sharply this time around).

There are important lessons here – the 1980s provides a classic example of how unemployment can spiral if Governments fail to invest in tackling unemployment. For those who are interested I have published all of my data on this – both my analysis of the change in actual rates and my failed attempts to copy the Conservative index of what I believe to be ‘change in annual change in unemployment rates’ here.

I am also waiting on a response to the following questions, which I hope will clarify the Conservative analysis and my understanding of it. They are:

  • Could further information be provided on how the claim that “the rise in unemployment since the beginning of this recession has outstripped those in the last three recessions” has been substantiated, given that unemployment rates rose faster in the 1980s then the current recession?
  • Could confirmation be provided that the index in ‘Get Britain Working’ is an index of change in annual change in unemployment rates?
  • If this is what the index represents, could details be provided of the starting month for the base of each index (and by implication the rationale for choosing each month)?

If anyone else has ideas on where the misundstanding may be after looking at my spreadsheet please feel free to get in touch.