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By Peter Hoskin
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The
labour market statistics released today are
much like last month’s (which I blogged about, at the time, here
and here).
There are important concerns — among them, the widening gap between earnings growth and
inflation — but the overall story is rather encouraging. The number of people
in employment rose by 236,000 in the three months to July, to 29.56 million. And,
while the unemployment rate has remained basically flat, there 7,000 fewer
people out of work and 15,000 fewer claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.

What
has really got ministers trilling,
though, is the fact that there are now, for the first time, one million more
people working in the private sector than when the Coalition came to power. In
fact, private sector employment has risen by 1.07 million (to 23.9 million)
since the second quarter of 2010, while public sector employment has fallen by
628,000 (to 5.66 million).


Here’s the graph:

Graph 

There
are two caveats to apply to this, however. The first is that “Further Education
Corporations and Sixth Form College Corporations in England” counted towards
public sector employment until the end of the first quarter this year, but now
count towards private sector employment. This means that the latest private
sector figure is around 196,000 higher than it would have been otherwise (with
the public sector lower by the same amount, of course). Without this
reclassification, private sector employment would be 874,000 higher than when
the Coalition took over.

The
second is that a good portion of the rise in private sector employment can be
accounted for by part-time workers, who have risen in number by 194,000 since
the election, to 8.12 million. And there are now 1.42 million people who want to work full-time but are having to
work part-time; a record high. But, as I said last time around, I doubt
this will concern the government too much. As they see it, part-time is better
than no-time, and can lead to full-time employment in the end.

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