Both the Daily Mail and The Express have run the same triumphant story today claiming that the number of job vacancies has now outstripped the number of unemployed people. According to the Daily Mail there are now over one million job vacancies and just under 800,000 jobseekers. Even for the Mail this is a staggering untruth.
The latest Labour Force Survey, conducted by the Officie for National Statistics (ONS), revealed that there are currently 1.83 million officially unemployed people, over double the amount reported by the Daily Mail. In addition to this there are over 2 million people who are ‘economically inactive’ and want a job but do not meet the strict definition of unemployment set by the ONS. The true number of unemployed people in the UK is over 4 million.
The ONS also collect data for the number of job vacancies which is produced from a widespsread survey of employers. This shows that there are currently 733,000 job vacancies, meaning there are almost six people chasing every job.
The reason the Daily Mail are claming unemployment is so low is that they are only counting current claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance, the main unemployment benefit. Eligibility conditions for this benefit are now so tough that the number claming only accounts for a fraction of the total number of people who report that they are unemployed. Nobody, including even the DWP pretends anything otherwise. Well nobody except the right wing press.
The claim that there are a million jobs available figure comes from private company Adzuna and is equally bogus. Adzuna are the latest online jobs vacancy site that harvests advertised jobs from across the internet and attempts to put them all in one place. According to the company the number of vacancies on their website has now hit over one million so they have launched a gushing press onslaught claiming that there are now more job available than people out of work..
Yet even the briefest scan of their website shows that when they say job vacancy, what they actually often mean is a couple of hours work at little more than the minimum wage. Many of the vacancies are so-called micro-jobs – one wants someone to write three paragraphs of advertising copy for twenty quid, another is asking for someone to deliver 2000 leaflets. Many more job advertisements on the site are duplicates and some are even illegally advertising for unpaid internships and work experience positions. Others are flaky sales companies wanting commission only staff. or franchise opportunities and catalogue distribution jobs which require money to be invested upfront.
This entire story is nothing more than a fucking advert for Adzuna who by pandering to the prejudices of the Daily Mail have managed to leverage some free marketing in the national press. And of course it suits the party line of the Tory newspapers perfectly, if unemployment is caused by a ‘skills shortage’ then that means unemployed people themselves are to blame for being out of work. If this so-called skills shortage is affecting the economy, which they pretend it is, then unemployed people are even to blame for slow economic growth.
The sad thing is it will be unemployed, sick and disabled people who pay for this free advertising splurge concocted by Adzuna. This story has not just featured in the Tory press, but throughout business publications and some local newspapers. Very soon it will emerge in pubs and workplaces as someone authoritively declares that they heard there are more jobs than there are unemployed people. There aren’t, it’s not even close. But it said so in the papers so it must be true.
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