Overall unemployment has fallen over the most recent period, but this seems largely down to huge leap in the number of people who are self-employed. A whopping 211,000 more people became self-employed over the last three months – with the total number now hitting 4.46 million.
It is impossible to know whether these newly self-employed people are actually making any money or have simply switched their claim over to Working Tax Credits. Companies running the Work Programme are known to coerce claimants into self-employment, which not only means they are taken off the unemployment figures but also that those running Government welfare-to-work schemes can claim huge job outcome payments.
If just one in six self-employed people are failing to earn any real income then the true number of unemployed people in the UK is close to 3 million! This would explain the so-called productivity riddle which shows that despite more people being in work, less work overall seems to be being done.
With the number of people in real, verifiable jobs falling it is becoming clear that things are far less healthy in the jobs market than the Government are currently pretending. The unemployment rate – the percentage of the workforce without jobs – stayed at 7.2%, maintaining the rise from 7.1% which was recorded in the last month’s figures. The number of people out of work for over two years also rose, by 6000 people.
For a long time now workfare, zero hours contracts and self-employment have masked the true nature of unemployment in the UK. Yet even this can’t hide this month’s fall in employees, which is so far being ignored by much of the media who can’t be bothered to read past the latest DWP press release. With hundreds of people chasing every job in some parts of the country, it is unemployed people themselves who seem to be the only ones who know what is really going on.
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