Ollie has a good overview of where we are with employment. Amongst all the figures it hard to make out what is really happening as their appears to be a lot of fudging going on. Wat Tyler has more here.
From what I can tell it seems that once people are out of work for a certain period of time they are simply not counted as unemployed but inactive; hence unpopular rising figures that breach the unemployment figure when the Bory's were still in power under Major are simply "disappeared" under a haze of statistics. Tragic.
As Ollie points out none of this accounts for the huge rise in public sector employment* since Laborious came to power; were there a simple way of calculating the rise percentage rise in "diversity managers" and "navel-gazing coordinators" the figures would probably have us up late at night.
That all said I wanted to have my own say on unemployment as it is a concept I became very familiar with 2 days after my daughter was born.
For one thing I hate the phraseology used in describing how people are un/employed; if any of my fellow libertarians are reading this you should hate it also and I'll explain why.
Terms like "economically inactive" put the honus on your activity at increasing economic output, not increasing your own happiness; to our political masters we are little more than a means to an end - if there is anything more at fault for our present darkness it is this concept; it leads and breeds the idea that we are the chattel of a new elite class, allows them to justify encroachments on our freedom and to palm it off to unelected bodies and quangos.
You work for you and yours; there is no greater crime as the one the government has perpetrated on it's people than that which has allowed it to modulate the economy and currency to make you work harder to support it; in a right for the wrong reasons kind of way this report by the left-wing think tank the New Economics Foundation is right - we should have shorter hours**; what they then forget to say that as a consequence of welfarism, cronyism, the sheer cost of the public sector and governments ability to undermine our currency means we are working longer to pay for their mistakes.
I believe what we are seeing is the death throes of an old way of doing things; there was a time when people would buy into the lie that cradle to grave welfarism could be sustainable, that politicians whilst flawed had the best intentions and were altruistic at heart, ultimately that the free market with the honus on competition would create too many losers; now that all those beliefs have been turned on their collective heads us peasants are starting to realise we have voice outside of our troughing representative in this rotten parliament; we just don't know what to shout about.
We have real power at our hands in an innovative market, where the consumer is king.
That ultimately the only real purpose to polticos is to protect this hyper-equality of opportunity, rather than be conjurers of cheap tricks and phony monsters.
Ultimately my view is winning out; there may be some painful death throes but they cannot last.
* = I'm aware that there is a certain sweet irony in the fact that I am currently temping in the public sector; believe me when I say I am trying to make myself value-added and work in one of the only areas which makes a profit (a real profit, not one of those pretend value-added quango profits). Will blog further on thus point when I can be bothered.
**= I would hazard the only difference in my view to the NEF can be put down to one word exchange - should:ought. I want the option to work less and enjoy life more but I respect the right of those who live to work; I doubt the NEF reciprocates this.