ALEX BRUMMER: One million more in work since Brexit vote – could Project Fear have been more wrong?

ALEX BRUMMER: One million more in work since Brexit vote – could Project Fear have been more wrong?

Britain’s vibrant jobs market is one of the pillars of our economy.  In defiance of the doomster predictions of three years ago, a spectacular on

Dark heart of a children’s classic
Hilarious online gallery reveals comments that really didn’t stand the test of time
Meet the food lovers – who freely admit they are not ‘skinny minnies’

Britain’s vibrant jobs market is one of the pillars of our economy. 

In defiance of the doomster predictions of three years ago, a spectacular one million jobs have been created across the economy and, so far, the much-predicted recession has been avoided.

The UK’s impressive record on creating jobs contrasts starkly with most of our EU trading partners, who are suffering unprecedented and unmovable levels of youth unemployment.

The latest employment figures must stick in the craw of former chancellor George Osborne.

Former chancellor George Osborne has been proved wrong by the latest employment figures  after he and his department predicted that thousands of jobs would be lost by voting Leave

Former chancellor George Osborne has been proved wrong by the latest employment figures  after he and his department predicted that thousands of jobs would be lost by voting Leave

Former chancellor George Osborne has been proved wrong by the latest employment figures  after he and his department predicted that thousands of jobs would be lost by voting Leave

In May 2016, his department warned that a Leave vote could cause an ‘immediate and profound’ shock to output, a year-long recession and result in 820,000 people paying with their jobs.

The reverse is true. At just 3.9 per cent of the workforce in July, the level of unemployment is at its lowest since 1974, when John Denver was No 1 in the pop charts with Annie’s Song.

Moreover, despite howls from Labour and the unions that many of these new jobs are part-time, based on zero-hours contracts or in the much-maligned ‘gig’ economy where people do freelance work, the official figures show that 2.8 million of the 3.8 million jobs added since 2010 are fulltime.

An equally healthy sign is that the workforce is experiencing a pay bonanza, with average weekly earnings climbing by 3.9 per cent for regular pay.

As a result, extra money is going to most working households.

With wages running well ahead of inflation, which stands at 2 per cent, there is a strong expectation that consumers will continue to spend, thus stimulating economic growth and reversing the blip seen in the second quarter of the year.

With more people in work, income tax and National Insurance receipts will increase, allowing the Government to spend more on the NHS, prisons, policing and infrastructure without having to risk wrecking the rebuilding of the public finances. 

Indeed, Chancellor Sajid Javid will be mightily pleased as he prepares a public spending package for next month.

Crucially, almost every area of the working demographic is benefiting.   

Unemployment among women is at a record low of 3.6 per cent of the workforce – although admittedly, either by choice or necessity, many women are doing more than one job.

And, in huge contrast to what’s happening among our soon-to-be-no-longer EU partners, youth employment here has fallen by 46 per cent since 2010 to just half a million, or 10 per cent.

This compares to a 23 per cent youth jobless rate across the EU. At its worst, in Greece, 39.6 per cent of the benighted young are unemployed. In Italy, the figure is 28.1 per cent.  

Soldiers in Belfast as British troops were deployed on to the streets of Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner in August 1969

Soldiers in Belfast as British troops were deployed on to the streets of Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner in August 1969

Soldiers in Belfast as British troops were deployed on to the streets of Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner in August 1969

Operation Banner lasted almost 38 years between 1969 and 2007 with more than 300,000 members of the UK Armed Forces being deployed within this time

Operation Banner lasted almost 38 years between 1969 and 2007 with more than 300,000 members of the UK Armed Forces being deployed within this time

Operation Banner lasted almost 38 years between 1969 and 2007 with more than 300,000 members of the UK Armed Forces being deployed within this time

Britain’s jobs boom has occurred in defiance of panicky signals from the Bank of England and other key City opinion-formers, who have repeatedly claimed that business confidence is at a low ebb because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Yes, it’s true that since MPs voted down Theresa May’s exit deal in March, business investment has plunged and output cratered. 

And, yes, there has been evidence that firms have found it cheaper to hire extra staff in warehouses, factories and service industries rather than invest in capital infrastructure.

This would explain why UK productivity – the measurement of the amount of goods or activity per worker – lags behind that of our competitors.

But there is reason to believe that the official figures do not give a full picture of how Britain’s mature digital economy is thriving because financial transactions on mobile phones, deals done by computer and surveys conducted online are not properly recorded. 

Of course, the naysayers will never be happy. 

Their current whinge is that too many new jobs are in coffee shops or in the food delivery industry.

They are wrong. The Office for National Statistics reports that in the year to March, by far the greatest number of new posts were in the scientific, professional and technical area, where 150,000 people were added to the workforce. 

A further 80,000 were added in IT and communications.

In other words, Britain has vacancies for people whose skills are propelling research and development and in the digital economy.

Vacancies – a sure sign of a robust economy – have increased in every year since 2012, although they have begun to fall this year as Britain has reached the nirvana of near full employment.

How ironic that the current total number of vacancies is 820,000 – exactly the number of jobs that George Osborne, the architect of Project Fear, told us would happen after a Leave vote.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
DISQUS: 0