Government sources like to claim that unemployment is falling and is now at a figure not equalled since 1975 – as low as 4% in August 2018. But what counts as being ‘employed’?
The definition used to arrive at that figure assumes that to be unemployed is to be part of the workforce unable to find a job, but ‘workforce’ means actually seeking work. If you are taking time off, have just given up looking for work, or work at home to look after your family, you are not part of the workforce. So you are not unemployed. If you include such people, the true figure is four times higher. If you measure the number of people 16-64 years old without jobs, it is over 21%. 
The government figures suggest so many people have jobs we ought to be able to ask for higher wages, as people are in short supply. In fact, so many people are in low paid work or not in work, labour remains cheap and wages are not keeping up with inflations, so workers get poorer. Low wage rises always indicate high unemployment. Both are popular with employers.
Figures also show that inactive male workers are increasing lower paid women replace them in the workforce. And this is before we allow for the effect of the gig economy, zero hours contacts and McJobs, people who might be called “underemployed”, with no security or career ladder, no holiday or sick pay and thus no chance of a mortgage. And even those in secure full time work might be on minimum wage, relying on benefits to make ends meet.
So any claim that the government is fuelling a rise in employment is to be taken apart and exposed as a lie. They are fuelling a rise in exploitation and dishonest reporting.
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