Chris Grayling gets his unemployment statistics wrong (again)
Today’s TUC unemployment analysis highlights the fact that while recent labour market statistics have brought some better news (with full-time employee jobs on the rise, and headline unemployment levels falling), long-term unemployment is also on the increase. In particular, the number of 18-24 year olds who have been out of work for more than six months is now just over 400,000 – an annual rise of around a third (98,000).
In response, Employment Minister Chris Grayling has issued the following statement:
“Of course long-term unemployment is a real challenge for us… but the TUC continues to use misleading figures, particularly about youth unemployment. The figures they’re questioning conveniently ignore the fact that the last Government used to mask the true picture of long-term unemployment by hiding people on a different benefit. That doesn’t happen any more.
But the Minister’s criticism relates to analysis of claimant count data (and even then it is questionable – more on that on this blog later), not the the ILO statistics which we have used in our release. Is he claiming that the ILO data series is no longer consistent? Or is this just another example of poor data analysis from DWP’s special advisers? Either way the real problem remains – over 400,000 young people have been out of work for more than six months, and until the Government gets the economy moving and puts some proper quality support in place, their prospects are only set to get worse.