Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Labour pains

Whilst the rest of the country saw a fall in those out of work the numbers in Wales were up by 6,000 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In Wales the figures of those out of work reached 127,000 during the last three months of 2012. In the same period
unemployment fell by 14,000 in the UK as a whole.

For lovers of statistics Wales' unemployment rate is 8.6% higher than the UK unemployment rate of 7.8%.

According to the ONS said there were 29.73 million people in the UK in employment, of which 73% were working full-time and 27% were working part-time.

The changes to the figures give us an insight to the changing labour market and why despite the overall fall in the figures people are not feeling any better off. 

The ONS said that between October to December 2012, full-time employment was 378,000 lower than in the April-to-June quarter in 2008, the first quarter of the recession. But part-time employment was 572,000 higher compared with the same period.

So its part-time work that’s giving the overall figures the boost. So less wages coming into peoples pockets. 

The ‘feel bad’ factor  is made even worse by the statistics on pay. As the ONS says "there continues to be a cut in the real value of pay" as inflation remains higher than pay increases.
This is the fifth year that peoples standard of living is down. The figures show average earnings down. Average earnings growth last year was down from 1.7% to 1.4%. 

Overall the news is not good at all. If you look at the output of the economy it hasn’t moved. We’re still crawling along the bottom of the dip. With more people producing the same it means that the country’s productivity is falling. 

But perhaps more worrying, as this blog pointed out, the manufacturing sector saw a downturn in the run-up to Christmas. That coupled with big names on our high streets moving into receivership doesn’t make for a sunny outlook even for employment figures in the months to come. 

My prediction is that unemployment figures will begin to rise later this year. The figures tend to lag behind the rest of the economy and as Friday’s figures on GDP are likely to show, an economy still contracting and the prospect of a triple dip recession.

A Plan B is needed and soon.


  1. No, no, no. What we need is to get public expenditure down, household incomes up and the resultant strengthening of the pound will see to the rest.

    Cut taxes, direct and indirect. Slash public expenditure and slash it again and again. And encourage, nay force all those that are unfortunately forced out of work to set themselves up as self-employed.

    Sit back and watch the transformation. It simples!

  2. those aren't labour pains!
    these are labour pains!