How the DWP Manufactures Falling Unemployment Figures

More evidence is emerging of how the unemployment figures are manipulated more by current policies at the DWP than any true measure of the number of people out of work.

Already it has been revealed that those who have had benefits sanctioned are not included in the Claimant Count.  Now it appears, thanks to some sterling work by, that those on workfare are counted as employed by the Labour Force Survey, the other measure used to calculate unemployment.

This follows revelations in the Daily Telegraph that a significant number of those ’employed’ according to the Labour Force Survey guidelines, are actually on Government training schemes.

The Claimant Count and the Labour Force Survey are the two measures of unemployment. The Labour Force Survey is based on a survey of 45,000 households.  The claimant count means all those currently claiming Job Seekers Allowance and no-one else.  It does not include those sanctioned and neither does it include those on sickness benefits and found fit for ‘some’ work and placed in the Work Related Activity group (WRAG).

Both of these measures of unemployment fell in the last months figures.  Both of these figures are vulnerable to misinterpretation about the true numbers of unemployed people.  The Claimant Count does not include possibly tens of thousands of people sanctioned each month.  The Labour Force Survey does not include people on workfare.

The Government claim they don’t know exactly how many people are on workfare, however all the indications suggest the number is rising.  Over two thousand people are referred to Mandatory Work Activity on a monthly basis.  Approaching eight thousand young people currently start on Work Experience or other workfare schemes each month.  Over half a million people are currently on the Work Programme, which can include up to six months workfare.  The rise in workfare is clearly one significant factor in the supposed fall in unemployment.

Similarly the number of people facing benefit sanctions has almost trebled since 2009 to approaching half a million annually.  Again, a rise in the number of sanctions handed out could easily outstrip the recent modest fall in the Claimant Count.*

Even without the huge increase in people claiming Working Tax Credit as self-employed, or on zero hours contracts, or in unstable and irregular casual work, both measures of unemployment appear highly vulnerable to policy changes at the DWP.  This helps explains the discrepancy of falling economic growth and falling unemployment.

If more people are sent on workfare, and more people face having claims sanctioned then both measures of unemployment will fall.  Since more people are being sent on workfare, and more people are having benefits sanctioned, unemployment is falling.

Correction 17/10/12:  Recent information from the ONS suggests some people who are sanctioned may be included in the Claimant Count.  It depends whether the claim remains live, many do not.  Am waiting on further information from the ONS and will clarify in a later piece.  Details of sanctioned claimants in relation to the LFS is below.

*The Labour Force Survey does not mention sanctions.  It is possible that some of those sanctioned would not be classed as unemployed – it seems that it would be based on the answers given to questions relating to job seeking activity.  Therefore those sanctioned may also place downward pressure on this measure of unemployment.

60 responses to “How the DWP Manufactures Falling Unemployment Figures

  1. Disturbing. Nygell Firminger a supporter of Kilburn Unemployed Workers group was only in his 20s when he took his own life after he was sanctioned and had his benefits cut.

  2. People in the WRAG, which includes people sick in bed in hospital, are not found to be fit for work. They’re considered likely to be fit for work at some time in the future.

    • That’s quite true – they are, as agreed by both Atos and DWP, not capable of work but capable of unspecified work-related actvity.
      S0 what happens is this – everyone agrees that they can’t work; so some of them get sent to, er, work; when they can’t do it, as both Atos and DWP have established before they sent them, they are punished with sanctions for proving them right.
      Kafka would be well impressed.

      Even better – whatever flavour of claimant a person is, once working in a non-job, they’ve got a job according to the bean-counters.
      So what happens is this – there is no job; employer gets paid to pretend there is one; person does the non-job; lots of work gets done; person is not unemployed any more but hasn’t got a job either.
      Person is now a working non-person in a non-job. Brilliant!
      But it gets better – after being a non-person for a while, if this non-person happens to be a WRAG non-person, he/she will become a JSA non-person because he/she has proved he/she can work, even though there is no job.
      All the people who did the work before quietly disappear and become non-persons themselves.

      Eventually, no real person will be unemployed. There will be millions of non-people working away at jobs that don’t exist. Jobs will no longer involve anything other than working – there will be no pay, tax, insurance etc. because people who don’t exist are getting on with the work.
      Of course, it takes an army of real people to organise all this, and they will be paid handsomely for rendering people into non-people.
      If the non-people dare to object, they’ll just be shunted about to another place where they won’t exist. Or starve. Or whatever.

      As we know, illness doesn’t exist any more. You can’t be ill. You can have varying degrees of capability for work, or at worst, limited capability for work related activity, but for DWP purposes, illness has gone.
      Disability’s on the way out, too – what you will be allowed to have is varying degrees of personal independence. If you are in a home or sheltered accomodation, you will have someone looking after you so you’re not independent and there will be no need to pay you for something you haven’t got, will there?

      It’s life Jim – but not as we know it.

      This dystopia is already happening – the language and the numbers are fiddled with ad nauseam and people have no idea that this alters perception and understanding to a degree that makes stuff disappear.
      It’s propaganda of Orwellian proportions.
      We’ve even got our “Daily Hate”.

      Rant over……

  3. How can the government not know how many people are on workfare? Surely WPs send in reports of those placed on the scheme and claim for the ‘travel costs’. Perhaps not though as the WPs seem to have free reign to do whatever they want.

  4. I knew years ago that after kicking away one of the main 80s/90s trick of putting thousands of unemployed people onto sickness benefits to massage the unemployment figures down, (which has gone far too far in the opposite direction now and no-one is seen as being sick or disabled anymore), they’d have to start finding other ways of fiddling the figures down. Which is ludicrously self-defeating because if they don’t ever face up to the scale of the problem then there is no hope of genuinely starting to solve it. But that’s about par for the course when this and successive governments only ive newspaper headline to newspaper headline.

  5. Arbeitsscheu UK

    So are we supposed to consider the media naive or complicit for not questioning this? Ironic that The Labour Force Survey doesn’t include Forced Labour

    • I think in many cases the media don’t care, they just want something to fill up the spaces between the adverts as cheaply as possible. If a minister wants to give them a press release or a statement, they’ll be grateful for it and they won’t have the time or incination to query it.

  6. Igneus are hiring near me, and have vacancies for the next six months. They cite increased referrals to the work programme and growth. “Closing Date: 31/12/2012”

  7. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t be both employed and on less than the minimum wage.

  8. Worth researching if attempted sanctions get included, or just those that are approved also. Communication on that whole process has been very ropey from DWP and sub contractor. Given that a large chunk of sanctions are rejected.

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  10. The DWP are Cunts

    Fuck these Nazi bastards!

  11. Reblogged this on skwalker1964 and commented:
    Well worth reading in conjunction with my posts on the monthly employment stats!

  12. bombasticspastic

    This story stirs in me feelings of déjà vu. Back in the 1980s and into the early 90s Thatcher presided over high unemployment rates – in fact her Chancellor, Norman Lamont voiced what many Tories thought, that high unemployment was a price worth paying to keep inflation in check.

    Thatcher massaged unemployment figures by vanishing hundreds of thousands of unemployed people from official lists. People on training courses, YOP schemes, on invalidity benefits were not counted as unemployed. Some felt Thatcher’s people used sophisticated manipulation tactics more akin to advertising than politics.

    For a long time Geoffrey Howe tried to convince the country unemployment was under 3 million. However, the reality, if all people without work were counted the true figure may even have exceeded 4 million.

    Doubtlessly, Cameron and co have looked to the antics of their predecessors and are practicing the arts of unemployment figures manipulation. Thankfully, the difference between the clumsy efforts of the Tories yesteryear and today is that now we have easier entrée to information it would have been difficult for ‘ordinary’ people to access in the early 80s.

    No matter how much they try to massage unemployment figures, tax and NI payments will soon show up shortfalls in the Revenue’s figures. Even (or is that especially) Osborne cannot account for money that is not in the coffers. The increase in the deficit since the coalition has imposed its economic recovery on the country is already reaching new alarming heights.

    Osborne predicted that by this time in the parliamentary programme the deficit would be reduced by 15%. Whoops George, it has only fallen by 9%. But George can’t marry the facts that high unemployment (probably nearer the bogeyman figure of 3 million that Thatcher’s regime tried to suppress) depresses Revenue income, puts an additional strain on the country with higher benefits payouts, reduces people’s economic activities, thus causing more unemployment, are contrary to economic growth; indeed, the only thing that will grow in such a climate is the deficit.

  13. Both labour and the tories have massaged the figures during their time in office. David Moron, sorry, Cameron, is nothing but an expert in lying.

  14. It doesn’t include the thousands of married women like me who were only allowed contributions based jobseekers allowance for 6 months, who are unemployed, but not classed as unemployed ‘officially’ as not in receipt of benefits despite needing work.

  15. They’ve been doing since the 80’s as someone above said, you don’t count as unemployed when they send you to the stupid job clubs after you’ve been unemployed for 6 months too. That’s why they are so useless, there’s no point to them except to massage the figures. I also heard in the 90’s that if you have been unemployed for more than 2 years they no longer count you too.

    • oh they are changing that they want people on the work programme sooner, Every government fiddles the figures.used to work for the dwp and i know the tricks they do. If you “work” as a volunteer for 1 hour a week you are not classes as unemployed..there are roughly 3 to 4 times the amount seeking work but arent classed as seeking it from 2008

      Mr Grayling said that 40,000 unemployed people were missing from the official statistics every day because they were attending mandatory training programmes.

      When they began claiming JSA again, they were registered as new claimants, so making it “statistically impossible” to become long-term unemployed.

      Mr Graying also said that there were 250,000 fewer British workers than two years ago, with 80 per cent of the three million jobs created since 1997 going to migrants

  16. Andrew Coates Old Grannie

    The DWP are bleeding filth.

  17. I am not surprised by this in the least. I think most people had long assumed that people mandated into government slavery would be classed as anything but unemployed. Now we know.
    And I’m alwso willing to be that anyone on the Slave Programme who’s found wanting in their jobsearch will still get sanctioned while the provider that’s supposed to do that jobsearch with/for them get’s to trouser more money

  18. The ‘real’ unemployment figure is more like 5-6 MILLION. Some estimates put it at around 9 MILLION if you include the people who are now given the PC title of ‘economically inactive’. The truth is that the official statistics are total lies as George Osbourne knows. He knows the real truth as the Treasury is experiencing a big shortfall in tax revenues at the moment and that is the classic indicator of high unemployment. The government can lie all it wants to the public about unemployment levels but the truth will come out in the end when the chancellor has to impose new taxes on those in work in order to cover for the shortfall caused by high unemployment.

  19. I was told by Atos Healthscare that i was fit for work, so ESA stopped. DWP then said i could get 6months Jobseekers.Jobcentre said keep quite about health when applying for jobs.They said if i got job and it became a problem then new employer would have to put measures in place to help me. Also told me to apply for so many jobs a fortnight even if I coudn,t do them.Somehow got a part time job but passed out,cracking head on floor after 3 days. Stressed out trying to work full of pain and tramadol. Lost job and driving licence for 12months.Applied for ESA again but turned down,not paid enough NI in last 12 months. Get nothing now so I can,t appear in any fixed Condem employment figures. CONDEMS, DWP and ATOS = TOTAL BASTARDS

    • Did the DWP tell you to keep quiet about health problems in writing? I bet they didn’t but if they did I’d say you had a case against them. I don’t understand why you’re being denied ESA or why you lost your driving license. Can you explain please?

  20. A nice smiling young lady at the jobcentre told me, no evidence and my word against hers the DWP told me. ESA turned down as i had not paid enough NI or been credited with enough NI contributions April 10 – 11.
    Docs classed me passing out as potential seziure although all tests were clear, was told to inform DVLA (another Gov outfit) and they took licence off me.

    • Then you should be eligible for a hardship loan. Have you tried? Have you sought advice, CAB, welfare rights officer?

    • I suggest taking a dictaphone or similar small recorder to any DWP interview and keep it concealed. Establish the identity of the interviewer for the record and file it away for future reference. I found it invaluable in resolving any ‘misunderstandings’

  21. Hi Kay, I am lucky in one way that at present my wife earns enough money to keep us going,so no chance of income support or loans.Its not so much the money its the corrupt system and the evil, hideous, lying, well paid, non human creatures who run it that gets to me. I did not give up work after 35 yrs for the fun of it and for some Atos Healthscare Nurse to tell me I was OK. I have only tried A4U, but a waste of time. I have complained to DWP and ATOS and got nowhere.Have compained to the Nurses and Midwifery Council about the Nurse-they just said she was no longer registered with them. At present going through complaint with Tribunal service, for my ESA appeal I was given chance, in writing, to present new medical evidence,which I did. However Judge ignored it saying she was only there to rule on original assessment decision and I lost the appeal. I fully expect to hit a brickwall with this as they always have a smart arse answer for everthing. I read a post saying the time for talking was over, I think they could be right.

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  27. oh they all the sick and disabled working sorry being in the charity shops who get money for this but how can you say a charity get money for ones bodys as to me it seems like we back into the 1700 where slavery is rife charitys we have none only slave markets but as serenity says how can you make a sick or disabled person work when even their doctors or consultants say they not fit to work its all to do with the filth thats in power taken money away from them that needs it to give to their mates who award themselves 8.6million bonus for it tory friends well looked after while we starve if that inhuman why have they got away with it jeff3

  28. I cannnot see what benefit sanctioning claimants will achieve as it will certainly will not lead to employment. We all know a destitute person cannot look for work. Where are they getting the materials to loook for work from if they have no income. Also if claimants have children this sanctions are very cruel and inhumane. Whatever people think of people on J.S.A . It certainly isn’t the fault of the children if their parent/s cannot get employment and ultimatley it is the children who will suffer. We all have the right to food warmth shelter and benefit sanctions take these away. I wonder what E.C.H.R would say? Well they work for criminals don’t they! We all know the governments policies they are hug a huddy. Soft on the bankers and tax evaders. Kick the sick, disabled, mentally ill, depressed(any freeeekinn wonder with this government) and lone pareents when they’re already lower than a snakes belly. Aren’t they brave targeting vulnerable groups of people! (not) X

  29. Fascinating and worrying – if you had to get off the fence and guesstimate a number of people who are “in work” but aren’t really ie, not being paid by a non gov organisation what would it be?…. I’m thinking 1m which is 3% of adults of working age!

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  31. Richard E Jenkins Jnr

    Hello, I normally do not look at the job situation as my personal situation is quite stable financially.
    I have a friend who has worked for the last 3 years as a cleaner at our local food store yet we did not see her for some time so went round her home to find it unlit and curtains closed, so went home.
    The next day i tried to ring her on her very old mobile phone but this went to answering machine.
    I went to her home in the car and she answered the door and was invited in only to find the curtains closed and she had on four coats and countless layers of other clothing, no heating or power (card meters).
    My wife and i put her in the car and returned home and she ate like a horse (no pun intended), It transpired that she left work as she was sacked by her employer for refusing to work more hours for no pay.
    Anyway that was two months ago and now this poor woman who is now 50 years old has been sanctioned by the local Jobcentre for not going on the internet and applying on line for work.
    She informed the Jobcentre that she has no internet connection and can not use a PC and has very limited reading and writing skills due to her horrific past in the care system in Wales that left her traumatized to the shell she is today..
    We found out that she has been sanctioned for one month so no money at all to live of and no offers of any support from the jobcentre.
    This woman has been living of 5 tins of soup and a moldy loaf of bread (I looked in her kitchen).
    How can the jobcentre do this? to leave a vulnerable woman in this destitute state ?.
    She is 4 weeks in arrears with many things now and yet i went with this woman when she signed on to find out she was to be sanctioned once more but my presence had some impact on this so called sanction and a phone call or two later she is now receiving her pittance.
    The answer she received when asked “why are you doing this to me”?, reply “you have not loged on to .Gov jobsearch account”.
    She then asked “how will i feed myself and pay any bills” ?, Answer was “It is not our problem”.
    I need to say that this woman has poor communication skills and very little skills of any type other than cleaning and her employers had taken advantage of her and her corrupt supervisor as it turns out that she was sacked as she refused to “clock in” her supervisor every day of the week so she can go on her jollys, the supervisor has been sacked but Mitie LTD is a poor company full of ghost workers.
    To close the story the woman is now on a literacy course and is being funded by people who care yet this is 2013 and to find some one on the verge of starvation is frightening and she can be counted as lucky as she was eventually missed and for the sake of £57 a week when this nation spends millions of pounds keeping abu katarda the terrorist in comfort makes me mad and i can say i and many others will not vote Conservative or Lib Dem wets ever again , the nasty party is indeed back and food banks i now see are growing more and more with the poor rubbing shoulders with the working man and woman who can not live on the poverty wages…I had no idea what was going on but indeed my eyes are now open wide to the suffering around me and will help and do what i can ….All i can say is sorry for not seeing what was in front of my eyes.

  32. That lady is lucky we found our aunt had hung herself from the landing with the rope of her washing line
    the note was read out in the coroners court and it said she was sanctioned for 6 months and she was so ashamed and she loved us for ever
    We miss our nan and we always will and i see IDF on TV with his baroness wife its enough to make you into a mad man intent of stopping IDF and his Gestapo DWP TOTAL BASTARDS NO OTHER WORDS FOR THEM SORRY BUT BASTARDS IS THE NAME I WILL ALWAYS CALL THEM FOR WHAT THEY DID TO OUR NAN …………….. TOTAL BASTARDS

  33. It is IMPOSSIBLE to read through these many posts and not burst out crying. Somehow all this Ian Duncan Smith crap must be stopped, forever. I believe you should have a talk with a major newpaper. for instance The Telegraph, they clearly take an interest in the ordinary people of his country, show them these posts, find out the name of the reporter most involved with publishing the Expenses Scandals (which have NOT stopped) and try to get that reporter to PUBLISH these posts. Center people’s attention on this ‘sanctioning’ of benefits, make sure everyone knows EXACTLY what it means. I know when they suddenly sanctioned a young man living near me, he ended up losing his wife, his child and his home. Another chap nearby stabbed himself in the upper legs and bled to death. This is England 2013. At some time or the other the Tories are going to have to learn ‘Suicides’ feature on their legacy page! Perhaps their only legacy.

  34. Isn’t it funny, I bet most of the people writing messages here, could EASILY work in the job center, doing their cushy jobs.

  35. Quentin Dears Boston

    For your information many jobcentre’s will be closed down as the DWP believe in fully on line systems are cheaper even though on the test program ran in some area’s they failed but the private contract given to the company’s that support the Conservative ethos or donors.
    The tax offices ( around 180) will close next year ) as the tax system moves on line.
    I was reading the post a few up from this that some do not have on line facility at home and are sanctioned yet when you considder a lone person on £57.00 a week then the 20% council tax payments from April 1st (average £8 per week) then the bedroom tax on average £14 per room you can see how Cameron and Ian Duncan Smith may turn many into home grown terrorists and i say this not with a smile but as a real possibility as they simply will not have nothing to loose and i have not mentioned the sanctions, we are now living in a nation of apatite designed to exclude the poor ,yet history is full of the above and yet we learn not from the past.

  36. I am looking to get a qualified author, extended time within this location. Outstanding post!

  37. False name given due to posting

    I was sanctioned for 3 months and the reason was that i am not on line at home as my father has no internet at all and i need his permission to have this work done.
    I can not afford this anyway and the local council facility’s are always fully booked in advance.

    I have now been dealing in drugs for the last two months to pay my way and i have not been caught yet and demand is good and i have made enough cash to have the internet installed and to pay for at least twelve months in advance on the charges.

    The rest of my earnings are going towards my keep.

    I will have never thought i will be dealing drugs a year ago but then i was in work but HMV went bust so lost my job.

    If i am sanctioned for any reason i will simply not sign on and sell what i can and for as long as i can as that is what the Conservative/Liberal coalition want the “get out and make a living for yourself” so i am doing that and i know the harm drugs cause but not being a user i now simply don’t care anymore.

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  40. Incredible! This sure is a reliable report you’ve penned. I owe you one for finding the time to explore your specifics and inspect the information you’ve offered. I’m supposed to recommend this posting with my audience, and I have subscribed to your feed to guarantee Im set to remain updated on your concern. I’ve literally loved seeing what your page published this evening, and Im longing for even more in time.

  41. Unemployment is going up each week and each month, every month and has been for some time.
    IDF lies through his teeth as do the rest of the Conservatives aided and abetted by the Limp dems.
    You can only lie for so long then the crap hits the fan……It could be this summer as the young and the old have been the targets of the finger pointing and name calling and the disabled attacks in the streets have risen over 3000%, that is not a typo, The Nazi party used the same tactics in the 1930s
    and so the rest is history as we are being pulled along into another war in Syria by the Conservative Hawks as this helps lubricate the pockets .
    Ian Duncan Smith forcing out the old and the young and infirm with the bedroom tax yet he has a tax free rent free home supplied by the upper crust…yet the upper crust are just a few crumbs gathered together.
    The Torys are looking for unrest as they have made the poor worthless so they have now nothing to loose and that is not a good position to be in is it ?

  42. Will Ian Duncan Smith’s next idea to have yellow stars sown onto the unemployed and the disabled lapels ?. I for one will not put it past him.
    The conservatives talk the austerity talk yet looking into this i see it is not real austerity at all but Tory ideology, time to remove the state from UK life and the timing is spot on with the greedy bankers and the tax evaders and the bent representatives in Parliament.
    If you are a millionaire you are now £45,000 pounds better off this year thanks to the Tory party…If you are poor you will be £900 pounds worse off this year…. thanks to the tory party, yet we are spending 40 BILLION this year and next on African education ???????????? makes me wonder what company will be awarded the contract ? or will it be the same old turnip “”it is all within the rules”

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  45. If all the unemployed decide to march to London the real figures will be shown and the way it is going it will happen soon wake up Britain you have a right to work for a fair days pay for a fair days work its easy to be critical of the jobless and vulnerable when you have at least a couple of million pound in a bank account so tell me is an MP worth the money all they have done is make people miserable what happens when they are on leave for summer the country runs itself so they do nothing 50 pence is too much money for what they do i object to being called a sciver by a politician they are in breech of the human rights act by labelling a certain group of people in society with a name the unemployed you heard it on the telly folks so take them on and shut there mouths once and for all in the court of human rights because they took the unemployeds rights to legal aid and legal representation away the MPs had enough to winge about when the expenses commitee wanted to stop there £15 pound evening meal allowance in parliament £90 a week if they do 7 days for an evening meal all on expenses we certainly are in it together lol but some of us can,t get out of the s—t while the MPs are smelling the roses whats amusing our mickey mouse prime minister at the moment is dictating to Sri Lanka about human rights laughable really when if his goverment win the next general election they want to abolish the human rights act by leaving the EU nothing to do with deporting immigrants we will end up like Burma if these bunch of tools get back in but no member of parliament is any good any party they are the ones who are all in it together noses in the trough we need to find some honest people to run the country not people with other interests financial and not the the welfare and well being of the good people of Great Britain

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  47. Nor do the figures

  48. Nor do the figures include people like myself, made redundant at 58 and after being told I was not entitled to benefit was called in by the jobcentre manager after 6 months and told ‘It’s most unlikely anyone here could help you find work, you may as well save your bus fares and sign off.’

    I asked for this in writing on my sign off forms , but whether they still exist is open to question.

    I wonder how many of us there are?

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