Unemployment isn’t as bad as it could be, but that doesn’t mean it’s good
Unemployment was down 7,000 on the quarter in the latest labour market statistics and this was the sixth successive month this happened. I think this, and the fact that unemployment hasn’t fallen as heavily as GDP in the current slump, have combined to convince some people that the UK’s unemployment performance is good in some absolute sense. It may be time for a reality check:
(Taken from the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics data.) And even the comparison with the USA isn’t particularly flattering. Our unemployment level has essentially stayed the same; President Obama inherited ballooning unemployment and has succeeded in gradually bringing it down to much the same level as ours.
Yes, it’s a relief that unemployment isn’t even higher and it’s been heading in the right direction since the start of the year. But we’re a long way short of where we want to be and have taken a harder hit than other similar economies. It’s far too early to be congratulating ourselves.