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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Problem With Statistics

Today it was anounced that unemployment is down - reduced by 65,000 in the past three months, down to 2.58 million, according to the Office of National Statistics.

I'd take this as being a really good thing...except for other statistics also coming out of that office. 6,100 more claims for Jobseeker's Allowance in that time, up to 1.6m. And long-term unemployment increasing by 18,000 to 441,000. All this in the past three months.

And there's another issue here; because, see, once - I was one of those long-term unemployed folks. And there's a trick, that has existed for a long time, built into how these statistics are built up.

If you are in training, or on some kind of course to assist you in getting a job, or in the process of making some kind of claim, then you don't count as being unemployed. If you aren't claiming jobseeer's allowance or some kind of other benefit, then you don't count as being unemployed either. Which means that actual statistics for unemployed individuals in this country can basically be inflated or deflated at the whim of those utilising the data.

Nice try though.

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