‘What appears to be the beginnings of good news on the economy is good news for the coalition too, and so tricky for Labour.’
Never mind the BBC can help you out in those ‘tricky moments’, that’s what it’s here for, serving the Public good.
The BBC are sceptical about the green shoots of economic recovery….employment is up but they are the wrong sort of jobs, exports are up but again they are the wrong sort of exports, consumer spending is up but again we are spending on the wrong things….the recovery is all a bit of a mirage, a fantasy based on wishful thinking and government spin….and a ‘million’ Zero Hour Contracts.
Yes the BBC has decided that the figure of one million, though just as much guess work as any other figure, is the one to use…..mainly because they have decided that Zero Hour Contracts aren’t real jobs so that proves all along they were right and that employment is really going down not up. So there.
Today the BBC started off teasing us with some good news about the economy but then it whipped away all that hope and poured cold water over all that nonsense…….bringing on economist John Philpotts to rain on our parade, finishing off with a boot to the groin from Labour:
“Despite some good news in the latest jobs figures there are worrying signs about the underlying state of the UK jobs market,” said John Philpott, from the think tank, The Jobs Economist.
“The rise in employment is almost matched by an increase in the size of the workforce, which means the unemployment rate is unchanged at 7.8%.
The headline jobs figures may continue to be broadly positive but one only has to dig a little deeper into the statistics to see that millions of people are still being hit by a combination of lack of jobs and a ceaseless sharp fall in the real value of their pay. This doesn’t look or feel like an economic recovery to write home about.
Labour’s shadow employment minister, Stephen Timms, said the reality was that for ordinary families things were getting “harder not easier”, highlighting the rise in part-time workers.
“Ministers just sound out of touch when they ignore the fact that the number of people who are working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job is at record levels,” he said.
Firstly…note that ‘ increase in the size of the workforce’…what exactly does that mean? That rise is of course the importation of cheap foreign labour which has forced wages lower and priced British workers out of the jobs market.
But who is John Philpotts? The BBC says he is from an ‘independent think tank’.
Well, not so much a think tank but a one man band with a blog.
As for independent…..reading his stuff you may possibly come to the conclusion that he is in fact ‘left leaning’….supporting the unions, government spending and public control of services, Plan B and Ed Miliband’s immortal ‘predistribution’ plan…whilst insisting that Osborne’s Plan A isn’t working.
Independent? Not so much.
He has been a regular on the BBC, one notable occasion recently telling us that employment figures were mostly government spin….as he reveals in this Guardian article:
We need employment statistics that confront political spin
Honest political discourse requires a warts and all picture of the underlying complexity of these figures – the ONS could help
Unions have a progressive part to play
Despite having the ability to directly challenge the impact of fiscal austerity in the workplace, union influence is nowadays felt mainly in its contribution to debate on economic and social policy, as demonstrated this morning in outgoing TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber’s well-constructed Olympic themed critique of a Plan A that shows no sign of working.
It is no coincidence that the slump in union membership has accompanied a steady fall in the share of national income received in wages relative to profits.
This may be of little concern to ardent neo-liberals who believe that allowing labour markets to clear is good for jobs and a higher profit share good for investment. But those of us concerned about the impact of this for low skilled workers and the public finances in an economy where levels of business investment disappoint in time of boom as well as slump, take a different view.
The consequences have been highlighted in recent days with the emergence of the wonkish concept of ‘predistribution’ into UK political debate. It’s very costly to maintain a large proportion of the workforce by means of what is in effect ‘in work welfare’ support. Better, if possible, to ensure workers earn enough not to need such hand-outs. This, as we will doubtless hear in the coming months, can be achieved in a number of ways. A progressive role for trade unions is one of them.
In all his articles he takes a good look at events…as he wishes to make a career out of his analysis he has to inject some measure of realism into his comment…however he seems to always end on a negative for the government and their policies.
But there are snippets of interest that cut across the BBC’s narrative and give the lie to it:
On the 14th August he tells us that nearly all the new jobs are ‘quality jobs’….permanent posts….
Moreover, while job security might have increased a little (the quarter saw a big drop of 70,000 in temporary employment, suggesting that permanent posts account for all the net new jobs created between April and June)
Here on the 17th July he tells us that part time jobs are decreasing and full time, permanent jobs are rising:
The best news of all is a strong quarterly rise in full-time employment of 28,000 and increased working hours (the number of people in part-time employment fell by 12,000). Alongside a fall in temporary employment (down 15,000) and self-employment (down 28,000), fewer redundancies (down 19,000) and more job vacancies (up 24,000), this suggests that confidence is returning to the jobs market with employers cutting back on contract workers in favour of permanent staff.
On the 12th June he tells us that wages are kept down due to imported labour…and reduced power of the Trade Unions:
The broad conclusion to be drawn from all this analysis – which chimes with my own view as expressed in previous blogs – is that a combination of increased outsider power in the labour market, caused by an expanded supply of labour, and reduced insider power, resulting from the diminished influence of trade unions in the workplace, has altered the UK’s trade-off between real wages and employment.
In fact, the IFS finds, it was mainly larger firms who cut jobs whereas small firms were more likely to keep workers on at lower pay in order to limit the impact of a fall in productivity on unit labour costs.
However as to the Trade Union claim….he contradicts that by revealing that most unions are in the Public Sector and that much of the fall in wages has been for workers in the small and medium sized companies where there are few if any union members any way….so reduced union power is not the cause of the fall in wages.
The BBC continues on its merry way trying to undermine confidence in the recovery, keeping up the Labour narrative, hoping for the economy to collapse and for Labour to romp home in the next election, and still bringing in ‘ringers’ like John Philpotts to pad out their position.
Will the corridors of the BBC be littered with champagne bottles and drunken BBC socialists in 2015?
So far it looks likely only if they want to drown their sorrows.