Do the unemployed spend just 8 min looking for work? A rebuttal


10:30 am - September 30th 2011

by Nicola Smith    


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The think-tank Policy Exchange have recently taken to making a widely reported claim that “recent research has suggested that Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants spend as little as eight minutes a day searching for work.

But is it true?
The statistic is referenced in this report, and originally comes from this article.

The source of the data is the Harmonised European Time Use Survey. The UK data in this survey is described here: it is from the UK Time Use Survey, a household survey that was carried out 11 years ago.

A few key points about the survey:

  • it is not recent, it was produced in 2000, a point at which the labour market was booming and Jobcentre Plus was not fully rolled out across the country;
  • it is not a survey of JSA claimants, the unemployed people in the sample are those who classify themselves as unemployed according to the ILO definition (many of whom will not be claiming JSA);
  • this analysis of the survey also shows that unemployed people spend an average of 22 minutes a day volunteering, 23 minutes a day on childcare and an average of 16 minutes a day in education and that employed people spend an average of no time at all on jobseeking;
  • the same analysis shows that unemployed people spend an average of 36 minutes a day in work and an average of 7 minutes a day traveling to work – indicating, in the words of the researcher, that ‘some caution is required in interpreting the results’.

People claiming JSA have to visit a Jobcentre to sign on every two weeks, at which point they have to demonstrate they have taken action to comply with a specified jobseeker’s agreement.

If they refuse job offers, refuse to apply for jobs (which can be up to an hour and a half’s travel time away), or fail in some other way to comply with their agreement, they can be sanctioned, losing their benefits for at least 13 weeks. Those who are simply suspected of not doing enough can be required, at any point in their claim, to undertake 30 hours a week of ‘mandatory work activity‘, as well as continuing to engage in jobsearch activity on top of their forced community work placement.

Living on JSA is also very difficult – it is only £67.50 a week. As Richard has shown, the UK social security system is one of the least generous in the developed world.

Unemployment has not risen by over 800,000 in the last three years because those out of work suddenly became less motivated – it’s high and rising because there aren’t enough jobs.

Presenting those who are out of work as lazy is simply unfair – and is not substantiated by Policy Exchange’s data.

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About the author
Nicola is the TUC's Senior Policy Officer working on a range of labour market and social welfare policy. She blogs mostly at ToUChstone.
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Reader comments


1. Mike Killingworth

I suggest you ask yourself this, Nicola.

How big is the market for studies showing that the jobless are also feckless, and therefore we can spend less on taxes to keep them alive with a perfectly clear conscience?

How big is the market for studies that demonstrate the exact opposite?

Which would you be more likely to commission if you were the DWP? Or a media behemoth?

You have a right to speak, of course you do. And I have a right to shout so that no one hears you. Don’t I?

2. Chaise Guevara

@ 1 Mike

“How big is the market for studies showing that the jobless are also feckless, and therefore we can spend less on taxes to keep them alive with a perfectly clear conscience?

How big is the market for studies that demonstrate the exact opposite?

Which would you be more likely to commission if you were the DWP?”

Um, a “study” commissioned to show that jobseekers were deserving or feckless would not be a study at all, it would be a propaganda exercise. If the DWP or anyone else pays someone to “go out and find out that this fact I like is true”, then the results are bullshit from the start and not worth listening to.

If you’ve got evidence that the data the DWP uses is of this kind, by all means show it. Otherwise your objection seems unfounded.

While I think/hope that 7 minutes per day is laughably wrong – there is certainly a disconnect between what I think is acceptable and what happens in reality.

I was job hunting around the time this report is based on, and would spend about half the day trawling for jobs, applying etc.

The job centre gave me a tiny passport sized book to fill in my activities, whereas I used a spreadsheet to track everything and printed that out for my 10 minute appointments every fortnight.

The overwhelming reaction was that I did more to look for work in a day than their average client did in a week. Now that was coming from the job centre staff themselves – so I did wonder just how active people actually are.

4. Mike Killingworth

[2] How agreeable to live in a world in which nods and winks don’t happen.

Gillian Shepherd, a member of John Major’s cabinet, once said that the role of government was to “shape the market”.

I look forward to CG’s explanation as to why commissioning academic research is the exception to this rule.

Let me give a hypothetical example. The Catholic Church decides to commission a study of the mental health of women who have used “morning after” contraception. The Fawcett Society simultaneously commissions the same piece of research (from someone else). Does CG seriously think that the two pieces of work will produce the same result? If so, he should get out more. A lot more..

We seem to have revived the fashion for attributing recessions to the concerted unwillingness of the jobless to look for work. It is distinctly peculiar when the supposed reluctance on the part of the jobless to look for work afflicts a number of countries at about the same time, especially when those countries have close trading links.

6. Chaise Guevara

@ 4

So you don’t have any evidence, then?

I’m not claiming that perfectly unbiased surveying is possible. But there are survey firms whose business model is built on creating the image of being impartial, because this way the data from them is more valuable (read: it’s actually data). If these firms were in the habit of reporting information that was suspiciously in line with the commissioner’s views, they’d go out of business – or at least change in a big way.

Do you never believe any data ever, on the basis that it’s impossible to know that biased influences were not involved in its generation? Or do you only get cynical when you don’t like what the data says?

“The job centre gave me a tiny passport sized book to fill in my activities, whereas I used a spreadsheet to track everything and printed that out for my 10 minute appointments every fortnight.”

My brother actually was sanctioned for using a printed out spreadsheet rather than the book as apparently you have to use the book, and nothing else. More reasons why most of the staff there are socially useless parasites (when dwp staff strike, how can anybody tell?)

Also its extremely easy to manipulate this system, you just lie about the jobs you’ve applied for. I doubt it is ever checked (and if so would be another example of job centre stupidity as admiting you are unemployed harms your chances in an interview).

The right really needs to understand there is no way of a bureauracracy acurately measuring whether somebody is being lazy or not, and attempts to do so just end up penalising the honest and vulnerable.

8. Mike Killingworth

[6] No, I don’t have any evidence, and neither do you to support your position. Whoever would commission such a study?

You have every right to believe what research outfits say about themselves – or in your language, “I think capitalism is so wonderful that I’m going to prostrate myself before one of its fetishes and whisper in a reverentially hushed tone business model” – what you mean to say is, “I believe whatever you say about yourself just so long as you make lots and lots of money”.

Here’s the news, CG: Bob Dylan was right all those years ago. Money doesn’t talk, it swears.

You think profit is a good thing, and should be extended into as many areas of human activity as possible. I think it’s a necessary evil and should be permitted only when there is no other way of achieving the same goal.

9. Mike Killingworth

[8] My apologies – I intended to switch the italics off before starting the last para.

I think this report by Policy Exchange is absolutely awful. As someone who is on JSA I can say that if they want to require more of job seekers, they must do more to help them find work. At present they do absolutely nothing. If you request admin work they give you a few email addresses to send your CV to, which of course 1000s of other people will do as they will have been given the same information. They know you have simply no chance of getting this work, or that it no longer exists, they are just required to offer you a certain about of ‘job opportunities’ a week.

Of course people should be looking on their own to find employment, it will not just be handed to you. But there is no reason Job Centres should not have a proper list of jobs (ie more than 5) that really exist and are not already filled. At present they do not even do this.

They are not there to help you find work, just to monitor that you are trying to find work, which is of course impossible anyway, especially with massive budget cuts to Job Centres.

On my first week claiming I went to group meeting where they told us basic info on how to get a job, write a CV, etc. I’m pretty sure most people in the room knew all this (we are not idiots!), but fair enough. What was ridiculous was after about 6 weeks they said I needed to go to another group session, but since this was the only one running I had to go to it again.

The whole culture of Job Centres needs changing, moving away from box ticking to actually helping people find employment. This would clearly show the remaining people who did not really want to find work (I’m sure this would be a small percentage, since 60 pounds a week is hardly much incentive). The only way this could be achieved is unfortunately with more money, which will clearly never happen.

In the mean time this kind of report just punishes people who are genuinely looking for work but struggling because there are so few jobs around.

Sorry about this long message, but wanted to add that whilst claiming JSA I was interning for an MP, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The Job Centre knew about this and did not seem to have a problem with it, so long I was actively looking for work.

Also agree strongly with Mike’s first post. Think Tanks are in no way impartial and report what they paymasters want them to.

@4: “Gillian Shepherd, a member of John Major’s cabinet, once said that the role of government was to ‘shape the market’. ”

Compare: “Edouard Balladur, the former French [Gaullist] prime minister, memorably once asked: ‘What is the market? It is the law of the jungle, the law of nature. And what is civilisation? It is the struggle against nature.'”
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.05/culture.html

How long do bankers spend looking for work? Zero minutes!

15. Mike Killingworth

[12][13] My thanks to Angie and Bob.

I’ve a good mind to repost that Balladur quote on here every time one of Sunny’s tame market apologists turns up. There’s no answer to it. 😆

“The right really needs to understand there is no way of a bureauracracy acurately measuring whether somebody is being lazy or not, and attempts to do so just end up penalising the honest and vulnerable.”

n.b. the Policy Exchange report has a solution for this problem. They want to get a big new IT system which will analyse all of the job search info which claimants bring in and decide if they are hard working or feckless. What could possibly go wrong?

17. Chaise Guevara

@ 8

Um, I was pointing out that decent studies are not commissioned to prove one pre-concieved opinion or another, and that if we reject all data that isn’t perfectly reliable we’ll have no data whatsover.

Why you’ve gone on some rant about capitalism is beyond me.

“I think capitalism is so wonderful that I’m going to prostrate myself before one of its fetishes and whisper in a reverentially hushed tone business model”

Lie.

“what you mean to say is, “I believe whatever you say about yourself just so long as you make lots and lots of money”

Lie.

“You think profit is a good thing, and should be extended into as many areas of human activity as possible.”

Lie.

Not only were all those lies, but there was no way you could have mistakenly read them into my post. Were you trying to construct the biggest straw man ever? If so, congrats!

In any case: either get back to the issue, or go somewhere where trolling people with random crap is acceptable – I recommend 4chan.

imho, I wouldn’t attach too much importance to the precise number of minutes spent on job search from surveys like this … what if a more recent time use survey (I’m sure they exist) showed that on average the unemployed spend, say, 12 minutes a day? Or 20 minutes? So what?

I know we all (or some of us) think to ourselves “if I was unemployed I’d search tirelessly until I’d found a job, and anybody who doesn’t is a shirker” but my guess is that plenty of people – for whom being unemployed is a more normal state of affairs than for those of us for whom being involuntarily out of work for long is practically unthinkable – scan the local paper, look online for an hour or so a week etc. make a few phone calls, send an email or two …. average that over 7 days and you aren’t far off a dozen minutes a day.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the average isn’t dragged down by a fair few who have basically given up and spend sod all time each week searching for work.

I’m also guessing that traveling to / attending interviews is categorized separately, so these minutes are not a measure of total search effort … but I haven’t checked that.

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 18 Luis

“my guess is that plenty of people – for whom being unemployed is a more normal state of affairs than for those of us for whom being involuntarily out of work for long is practically unthinkable – scan the local paper, look online for an hour or so a week etc. make a few phone calls, send an email or two ”

You’ve just described exactly what I’ve done in the past when unemployed – and unemployment is rare for me, I’ve never claimed JSA. I think expecting people to spend the equivalent of a full working week just on job seeking is unrealistic. You’d run out of jobs to apply for, for one thing.

@17 I think his point is that there generally aren’t any decent studies. For example whenever the Catholic Church does a study into the whole sheltering and moving about pedophiles thing they did, the results are always “because of the gays infiltrating the church”. Or to put it in the context of the current OP – there’s more people with more cash wanting to hear the result of “the jobless are lazy twats” rather than “the jobless are struggling to find work now that there are near bugger-all vacancies”.

see here for some US data on how search effort declines when unemployment is high (chances of finding a job are lower, unemployment durations are higher)

http://economiclogic.blogspot.com/2011/04/search-effort-under-mass-unemployment.html

it wouldn’t be surprising if search effort was actually lower now than in 2000 … the marginal returns to effort are lower, after all.

I don’t think there is any reason to think the findings of a time use survey, conducted by academics, are distorted by the desires of paymasters. It’s a questionnaire, you fill it is, the data is compiled. That’s it.

How think tanks choose to interpret that data is of course prone to bias.

@15 Mike: “I’ve a good mind to repost that Balladur quote on here every time one of Sunny’s tame market apologists turns up.”

Gaullists carry a lot of political baggage but they do get somethings right. Mainly thanks to De Gaulle taking the right decisions when he was president 1958-69, France relies on nuclear power for nearly 80% of its electricity supply.

The French have maintained much stronger bipartisan interventionist and protectionist traditions than we have – when VHS was the popular recording media for movies, Mitterrand as president decided that all those VHS players imported from Japan would have to go through one customs post based in Poitiers with foreseeable consequences. But recall that France has managed to preserve two substantial and viable national car manufacturers – Renault and Peugeot – which still have the major part of home sales in France. That is a great deal more than we can boast of.

Presenting those who are out of work as lazy is simply unfair

Didn’t see that mentioned. Can you point me in the right direction please?

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 Cylux

“I think his point is that there generally aren’t any decent studies.”

I’m pretty sure his point is “you disagree with me you must be an eeeevil uber-capitalist arrggghhh!!!111”

“For example whenever the Catholic Church does a study into the whole sheltering and moving about pedophiles thing they did, the results are always “because of the gays infiltrating the church”.”

Which is unsurprising, but I’d be considerably more shocked if the church commissioned YouGov (or a similar firm if YouGov only does opinion polls) and got the same results.

“Or to put it in the context of the current OP – there’s more people with more cash wanting to hear the result of “the jobless are lazy twats” rather than “the jobless are struggling to find work now that there are near bugger-all vacancies”.”

Which is why I wouldn’t trust think tanks, including the ones in the study… but that doesn’t mean I declare all data automatically null and void. I place a higher level of reliability on some sources (e.g. ONS) than others (e.g. Fred Phelps).

@10 – Your wrong, a lot of people are idiots and do need help with cvs etc. When I was unemployed for 9 months the job centre was full of people I’d class as an idiot. Fancy turning up looking for work with a cap with a cannabis leaf on it. I really felt pained for the old chap who turned up in his best suit every two weeks, but to be honest the majority there were just losers, the only thing impressive about them was the size of the chips on their shoulders.

This is a place where you go and they give you a cheque, yet it still needs two security guards there to stop the staff being assaulted.

Im not sure about the five jobs only either, there were lots advertised when i was there, i will admit though they didnt invite me to their iner coterie and tell the truth about the fake jobs that no one will ever get.

Also, whats difficult about seaching for jobs and applying for them? If I was an employer and someone needed their hand held in order to read an application, match it to their skills and then write their name on a form then I wouldnt want to employ they

27. Luis Enrique

in the US time spent on job search is much higher – 40 mins per day. The EU average is 14. The thing that Europeans spend much more time doing than Americans is … eating.

http://www.irs.princeton.edu/pubs/pdfs/524.pdf

28. Alabaster Codify for 10nn

Well, it doesn’t take long to check the local paper and local websites to realise there’s nothing for you with 1,000,000 young people alone out of work. I left school at the height of Thatcher’s reign and 8 mins a week of looking for a job was 8 mins wasted, so I wouldn’t at all be surprised if that was correct., However, I don’t see it as a problem at all, just a symptom. Why waste half a day looking for a shite minimum wage job… day after day after day. Thankfully, it seems the British do have some common sense after all. I have taught for 15 years and I can tell you that alot of the young people out there are just as literate as those ‘business’ people who claim young people can’t read and write – which is to say not very literate at all, but that’s not the reason there’s massive levels of unemployment. It’s bad enough being out of work. Get off their case, maybe a few will pick up some books in their spare time, play a bit of football, only a few I grant you but so what?

@26 There’s nothing difficult about searching for jobs and applying for them, it’s the getting them that’s the difficult part. I don’t mean literally help you write the application form, I mean find you job opportunities that exist and you have a reasonable chance of hearing back from! Did you ever receive a response from a job that you applied for via the job centre? If you were unemployed for 9 months you must realise how difficult it is.

Maybe they should ask to see your CV and give advice on it, or if you don’t have one actually help that person write on. Again, all this costs money, but I believe people deserve proper help. There will always be some people who will do all they can to not work, but this is clearly a small minority. As I said before, who wants to live on 60 pounds a week?

Also, if you go to the Direct Gov website, you can see from there how few jobs there are. If you search for admin assistant in London around 200 jobs, but only 20 or so are in London. Think about how many people are seeing these vacancies and how many are forced to apply for them in Job Centres all over London. Surely they could be doing more…

I just checked the adzuma website for jobs in Lewisham.
http://jobs.adzuna.co.uk/search?where_c=lewisham

There were 47.

It didn’t take that long.
Of course, the job centre has more jobs on their books. Back in June it they had 443 vacancies.
At that time there were 9,926 jobseekers in Lewisham.

Could it be that the problem isn’t that people aren’t looking, but that there aren’t enough jobs out there?

Actually now I look at the Direct Gov job website again there are more than 20, but I wonder what the statistics are on the amount of people who find jobs directly from the Job Centre?

Also worth pointing out the utter pointlessnesses of measuring job search activity by number of jobs applied for,

Virtually every piece of advice given to people who have been made redundant is along the lines of: (1) Don’t panic, (2) take time to reflect on your skills and strengths, and what jobs you are best suited to, and (3) don’t apply for every job going, focus on the ones you are likely to be succesful. Furthermore, as even DWP staff now recognise, the vast majority of jobs are never adverstised, but get allocated through social networks.

Which makes trying to force people to bring in booklets recording job search a flawed method of getting people into work. Doing voluntary work, socialising with people who are in work (and can thus alert you to opportunities), and keeping your confidence up by not having to constantly think about your situation are all likely to have far more effect than asking people to spam every local business with CVs.

“wonder what the statistics are on the amount of people who find jobs directly from the Job Centre?”

I’d imagine pathetic. But they’d probably claim credit for everyone leaving JSA regardless of how they obtained a job, or even whether the job was just temping through an agency.

Interesting logic in the original article. Conclusion:

Presenting those who are out of work as lazy is simply unfair – and is not substantiated by Policy Exchange’s data.

Which concludes an argument set up by the following:

The think-tank Policy Exchange have recently taken to making a widely reported claim that “recent research has suggested that Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants spend as little as eight minutes a day searching for work.

But is it true?

‘As little as…’ implies that a minimum, not what the majority do. It clearly does not imply an average or anything. The original article seems to be arguing against something else.

Indicentally, many in job centres do the bare minimum – is this a surprise? Whether they are children of broken capitalism or welfare spongers or perhaps just a normal economic reaction to being paid for not working (take your choice – the truth is out there somewhere) some people are happy to take the money for very little necessary effort (Job Centres do very little to help find jobs that I’ve noticed – and yes, I’ve claimed benefit and have close family doing so now (and telling the same stories I observed when I claimed…). It is a valid, if partisan, approach to draw attention to them, just as it is equally valid (and normally, equally partisan – albeit in different ways) to draw attention to those who do work hard to find jobs.

35. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 Watchman

“‘As little as…’ implies that a minimum, not what the majority do. It clearly does not imply an average or anything. The original article seems to be arguing against something else.”

It also gets used in a similar way to “a mere”; i.e. to highlight how low the number is. If it’s being used the way you think, the think tank (or people reporting it) is being totally disingenuous. If 8 mins was the lowest amount they could find, all that would show is that every single jobless person studied at least tries to get a job – which is contrary to popular opinion to say the least.

Getting a data range and then emphasising the lowest or highest point, without having a specific reason to do so, is dishonest. Even if your phrasing covers your back, it’s clear that you want people to focus on this extreme number rather than the mean or median.

In this case, I’m pretty sure the claim is that 8 mins is the average, albeit backed by what sounds like very flimsy evidence.

Hang on here, I was going to reply to Chaise, but I needed to check the sources (shock horror – economic right-winger checking sources) and there’s something odd about the sources. The 2000 source information says the average daily amount of job seeking for the unemployed was 5 minutes (see table 1). So this report is not actually using the 2000 figure, but a slightly better one (at least in terms of representations), but one we don’t know how it was calculated as far as I can see. Any ideas?

@34 If you read the report, 8 minutes is said to be the average, not the minimum:

“DWP research from 1999 suggests that the average JSA claimant spends only seven hours per week searching for work. A more recent survey conducted by two Princeton economists for the Institute for the Study of Labor, found that jobseekers in the UK spend an average of eight minutes per day looking for jobs . This compares to 41 minutes per day in the United States and 27 minutes per day in France.

@36 I’m guessing you’ve seen this?

http://politiquessociales.net/IMG/pdf/dp3667.pdf

Angie,

Thanks for the help in getting basic source material read – I can now say where the information is to be found (an earlier Krueger and Muller paper than that cited above – http://ftp.iza.org/dp3490.pdf – table 2 has the figure).

It does appear that this is the same figure in the Policy Exchange report as in the original paper, harmonized from 5 (or 6 according to the paper cited here) to 8 minutes in the European survey. But if the authors of the Policy Exchange report had deliberately wanted to make a polemic point, they could clearly have used the 5 or 6 minute figure from the original unharmonized data.

To be honest, I’m quite surprised the figure is as low as eight minutes though. Chaise was right about that being the average, but this is presented as such fairly from the source, and is clearly not cherry picked from the available data either. I would say that eight minutes a day is a bit low myself – how long does filling in an application (or even requesting an application form) take; even a proper internet search takes a few minutes. Hence I had expected it to be higher…

I would say that it all depends on how long you have been unemployed for and what kind of job you are looking for, doesn’t it? If you are newly unemployed and have a wide range of skills, you are probably looking at a number of websites/trade papers as well as job centres and phoning up friends, ex-colleagues, clients or old suppliers. If you are long term unemployed you with limited experience, say a cleaner, you are looking at say the local paper when it comes out and perhaps the job centre three times a week. Hardly any point rewriting to the employers who have repeatedly rejected you for the first six
Months of you being unemployed, is there?

Either way, the time spent looking for work does not actually increase the amount of work out there, does it? The first priority of the Right is increase the number of jobs, THEN attempt to draw comparisons on how long people spend looking for jobs.

@39. Watchman: “I would say that eight minutes a day is a bit low myself – how long does filling in an application (or even requesting an application form) take; even a proper internet search takes a few minutes.”

Err, yes, I am not convinced by the statistics for any nation. The process of “looking for a vacancy” (ie scanning the newspaper, newsagent’s window, internet job sites) is distinct from “applying for a job” (ie written application for a published vacancy or crafting a CV for a prospect).

Watchman @ 39

To be honest, I’m quite surprised the figure is as low as eight minutes though.

Er, it is an entirely made up figure, thats why. Who the fuck estimates these figures with any accuracy? It is a bit like asking people how long they have sex every week. Who sits with a stopwatch to record that? Or having tea or watching telly?

How long does it take to look at the local paper and see there are no cleaning jobs, for example?

It appears that the unemployed spend 22 minutes ‘volunteering’. Really? 22 minutes, eh? So what happens after the magical 22 minutes? The unemployed person packs up and goes home?

More meaningless figures churned out by the Right to feed the halfwits on the Right. Normal people with an IQ over that of a medium sized bonsai will ignore this crap.

@42. Jim: “Normal people with an IQ over that of a medium sized bonsai will ignore this crap.”

That is utter crap. Smart people (IQ in excess of 100 points) swallow bucket loads of irrational hatred.

Apologies for the return visit.

Jim was rude. To qualify (by Jim’s rules) for respect in the benefits system “an IQ over that of a medium sized bonsai” is necessary. Who is normal?

45. Chaise Guevara

@ 42 Jim

“It appears that the unemployed spend 22 minutes ‘volunteering’. Really? 22 minutes, eh? So what happens after the magical 22 minutes? The unemployed person packs up and goes home?”

That would be an average, not a claim specific to every single unemployed person. So some people don’t volunteer at all, while others spend five hours volunteering and then pack up and go home. You wouldn’t use it to predict that a random unemployed person will spend 22 minutes doing volunteer work.

You’re right, however, that the methods used to find this information are highly fucking suspect. Probably someone took a lazy vox pop and inadvisably decided to apply it to the whole population.

46. Mark Redwood

Clearly this piece of work by the Policy Exchange is a moral argument – what should someone on JSA be required to do to qualify for the benefit. They have cherry-picked a piece of data that supports the notion that the jobless are feckless and lazy. This moral standpoint fits very well with the right’s tendency to see success or failure as an individual quality, and to ignore societal factors that make one rich or poor.

Increasing the job searching activity will have very little impact on the number of unemployed overall. It may decrease the length of time jobs remains unfilled, but there will always be unfilled posts at any one time, because there is a time lag between advertising a post and filling that post.

What this thrust very clearly highlights is the government’s total impotence in being able to create policies that will address the overall unemployment figures.

47. Luis enrique

If you want to know where the figures come from, why not follow the links in the OP to the time use survey? I think they give people diaries to fill out every day to record what they are doing in 10 minute slots. Of course people may not fill these diaries out accurately, but why should job search time be systematically under reported? it should average out to be fairly accurate. It’s not lazy or made up, I’m pretty sure a lot of effort goes into data gathering. It is not done by Policy Exchange.
http://www.esds.ac.uk/government/timeuse/

48. Mike Killingworth

[46]

There is a time lag between advertising a post and filling that post.

My understanding – which may well be defective, as I am frequently reminded on here that it often is – is that economic growth is primarily located in small firms and new industries. These fill posts by networking. A friend of mine moved into data processing around 1970 and spent his career (thirty years) in the IT industry. He never once responded to an advertisement. Indeed, an inability to fill vacancies by networking may be seen as a sign of inefficiency in a firm.

What is the current fashion for internships if not a revival of networking by other means?

Say, didn’t Policy Exchange once fake evidence? I think they did. I’d like to see PE’s methodology, research design and size of sample. But something tells me that none of those things are available to view.

If you are at the bottom of the job market skill and pay wise and receiving JSA plus housing benifit, experience at the job centre will soon tell you that there isn’t much to get excited about jobs wise, when all the crappy jobs you might go for, will pay you so poorly that you might feel you can eek things out better living like a frugal hermit on benifits.
Buy cautiously at the supermarket, walk most places, buy clothes in the charity shop – or even better get them for free from a charity. Some places do food parcels. You can live like that for ages. Life develops its own easy going routine. For example, my local art house cinema is only £3 on mondays. Bargin. Starbucks do £1 coffees with refill and free wi-fi. The library has free newspapers. You can live without a TV licience.
It’s the future of this country. We can live like the Greeks will have to.

51. So Much For Subtlety

50. damon

It’s the future of this country. We can live like the Greeks will have to.

It is most certainly not the future of this country. As the people who live that way now do so at the expense of the rest of us. We can’t all live at the expense of the rest of us or there will be no one to pay the tax bills that fund the JSA.

If the economy is so mismanaged that significant numbers of people become forced to live like that – and the signs are looking that way right now thanks to the Europhiles – then the people who are presently going through Op Shop bins will be reduced to picking through rubbish dumps as in many Third World countries.

52. Leon Wolfson

@51 – Because of the Europhiles, So Troll so Blatent?

Because it’s them who are running our economy into the G…no, wait, it’s your masters, dog. And thanks for calling for killing the unemployed. Again, it’s always violence with you.

We’re *already* a third world basket case nation, but that’s because we’re ignoring our treaty obligations and systematically dismantling our social system and economy. While you grin and nod like a bobble doll.

@50 – Cinema? Coffee out? You’re NUTS. I haven’t spent on those in literally years. The difference is now that we won’t be able to afford heating this winter. And the food’s tight, even with buying bargains at every opportunity. And if I there’s as much as a three weeks gap between contracts (as there are, once or twice a year – 3-4 weeks) I’ll need to move away from where the jobs are. Then I won’t be working, probably for years.

53. So Much For Subtlety

52. Leon Wolfson

Because of the Europhiles, So Troll so Blatent?

Yes. They were told that you could not impose the same currency on Greece and Germany, but they did it anyway. Now we will all pay the price.

Because it’s them who are running our economy into the G…no, wait, it’s your masters, dog. And thanks for calling for killing the unemployed. Again, it’s always violence with you.

It is sad to see what a pathetic job you do of basic reading. I am not paid by the Greek government. Nor the Italians. Nor the Spanish.

We’re *already* a third world basket case nation, but that’s because we’re ignoring our treaty obligations and systematically dismantling our social system and economy. While you grin and nod like a bobble doll.

What treaty obligations? We are getting close to a Third World basket case because we have too many parasites on too few productive people and the Left continues to refuse to accept reality.

54. So Much For Subtlety

52. Leon Wolfson

Cinema? Coffee out? You’re NUTS. I haven’t spent on those in literally years. The difference is now that we won’t be able to afford heating this winter. And the food’s tight, even with buying bargains at every opportunity

And yet you continue to pay out for broadband. Can I thank you from the bottom of my heart for, literally, sacrificing the food on your children’s plate for our education and enlightenment?

When employers always ask for you to send a CV these days, that also dissuades people at the bottom of the jobs market. If you have a poor work history then you are unattractive to potential employers. Spend any time in and around a job centre and you will see loads of people who you could class as ”difficult to employ”. They will soon realise that time spent on looking for work is a waste of time.
I was in Dublin on friday, and that city is swarming with unemployable looking people.
They have a busy free food kitchen place that feeds hundreds of people every day and there’s no way many of the people who use it are actively looking for work. They get nearly 200 euros a week for their equivalent of JSA though, so getting them to give that up for a crappy job labouring all day is asking a lot.

Let’s not forget this statistic.

”Half of young black people unemployed, says report”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8468308.stm

56. Leon Wolfson

@54 – I pay a fifth-share of a cheap broadband connection as part of my rent, yes.

Running costs for an old laptop are VERY low, electricity-wise. Of course, it should have been replaced years ago, but there we go.

Rich snobs like you can afford to sneer at the poor you create, certainly. Nose in the air, man!

Besides which, all politicians know perfectly well that full employment in a Capitalist system is an impossibility. Capitalism itself relies upon maintaining a reserve workforce, more workers than jobs, in order that the balance of power be kept in the hands of the capitalists and not the workers. The unemployed can then be used as a convenient scapegoat for any failing policies, middle-England voters can be fooled into believing such lies and the dole queue becomes an effective deterrent for those in work.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. richardbrennan

    Do the unemployed spend just 8 min looking for work? A rebuttal | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/1V7zj15K via @libcon

  2. Deborah Segalini

    Do unemployed people spend just 8minutes looking for work? Right-wing claim rebutted by @nicolatuc – http://t.co/CQtHWJ06

  3. Henry Path

    @AngryBritain 😀 Just found this rebuttal, written today. http://t.co/V2kWjtLH

  4. Henry Path

    @Spartiago http://t.co/V2kWjtLH

  5. Henry Path

    @FreshStandUp http://t.co/V2kWjtLH

  6. Henry Path

    @barnsleysime http://t.co/V2kWjtLH

  7. Henry Path

    @Bannman http://t.co/V2kWjtLH

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  9. TheCreativeCrip

    Do unemployed people spend just 8minutes looking for work? Right-wing claim rebutted by @nicolatuc – http://t.co/CQtHWJ06

  10. Ross M. Jamieson

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  11. David Davies

    Do the unemployed spend just 8 min looking for work? A rebuttal ~ http://t.co/VCW4qoe0

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