Official gloss hides bad news on jobs

Nov 14 2002 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits fell by 4,500 last month to 940,500, the lowest official total since 1975. But the Government-preferred International Labour Organisation jobless rate increased by 0.25 to 5.3%.

According to the figures released on November 13 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of those in employment fell by 36,000 during the three-months to September while the total number of people looking for work, including those not eligible for benefits, rose by 45,000 between July and September to 1,541,000.

Although the average monthly fall in the numbers of those employed over the same period was 12,000, when looked at over the year the number of people in employment actually rose by 175,000 over the year, a figure jumped on by the Government to maintain that the underlying labour market position remains strong.

”In the last 12 months employment has grown by 175,000 to 27.7 million…The UK labour market has proved resilient in the face of continuing global economic uncertainties,” Minister for Work, Nick Brown, said.

Behind the gloss, however, the picture is less rosy. Manufacturing industry is losing 10,000 jobs a week and urgent action is needed to stop it "haemorrhaging to death", union leaders are warning.

A total of 159,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the three months to September taking the total number of workers in the manufacturing sector to a record low of 3.6 million.

Bill Morris, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, warned that manufacturing was “haemorrhaging to death.”

"At this rate, all that we will be left with is to take in each others' washing using imported washing machines," he said.