There’s still no conclusive evidence immigration causes unemployment


by Guest    
10:40 am - January 11th 2012

      Share on Tumblr

contribution by Matt Cavanagh

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) yesterday published a report on the impact of immigration on unemployment.

There is a danger that its finding there is an “association” between immigration and employment – in particular that “an extra 100 non-EU migrants are initially associated with 23 fewer native people employed” – will be seized on as ‘gotcha’ moment confirming the view that immigrants take jobs off British people.

But a number of cautionary points need to be made.

First, this relates only to non-EU migrants. It isn’t in any way a vindication of MigrationWatch and others who were arguing in the media yesterday about migrants from Eastern Europe: indeed, the MAC explicitly states that it finds no association between EU migrants and unemployment.

Second, it relates only to short-term migrants. For those who stay longer than five years, the MAC again finds no association between migration and employment. This is significant in relation to the Government’s proposals to severely restrict the opportunities for working migrants to stay longer than five years.

The combination of these two points means that, while the figure of ’100 migrants displace 23 British workers’ will doubtless get the attention, the MAC’s overall finding, covering EU and non-EU migrants, and those who stay over five years, is that the 2.1 million additional foreign workers in 2010 compared with 1995 are “associated with” 160,000 fewer resident workers: a ratio of 1 in 13 rather than 1 in 4.

Third, hidden in the detail of the MAC report is an important distinction between periods of economic growth and economic downturns.

The MAC has chosen to present its results for the whole period (from 1995 to 2010); but if it had chosen instead to separate the two – for example looking at the period 1995-2008, and then separately at 2008-10 – the same results would have yielded an “association” between immigration and unemployment in a downturn, but not in periods of economic growth (see Table 4.1 on p63).

Fourth the MAC is clear that it is not claiming to have found a causal link – it is merely “an association”. It also admits to some important limitations on the robustness of its results (see pp 116-117, para A67).

All of these caveats mean the report should be treated with caution, as its authors would surely agree.

This is particularly important because another report published yesterday by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) – which uses data from national insurance numbers, rather than the survey data – finds no link between immigration and unemployment.

As things stand, there is no conclusive evidence which shows that cutting immigration will make a significant contribution to reducing unemployment, let alone be the silver bullet which many believe it is.

—-
Matt Cavanagh is an associate director at the think tank IPPR. He is on Twitter here.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Immigration

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Hmmm…it’s hard to show causation, but let’s face it, there is such good correllation that you’d have to be a left-winger to argue that immigration didn’t have some effect on jobs and youth unemployement.

In our every day experience, we know full well that a lot of the low-skilled, lower paid jobs, especially in the south east, are filled by immigrants. That is bound to have an effect on employemnt levels, especially for young, unskilled and inexperienced UK kids trying to get into the Labour market for the first time.

Remember, its not a trickle of new immigrants we are talking about here, it’s over 3 million since Labour came to power, and many tend to be better educated and better motivated than the produce from our own schools.

Does it really matter, one way or another? What if immigration has an effect on the local population? Should the Left shy away from confronting that issue, just because it is an ‘inconvenient’ subject for us?

People are out competed in the labour market every day in every part of the World where anything approaching a free(ish) labour exists. There is little point in the Left crying over that because unless you change over to an entirely planned and successful economy, there are always going to be people who employers neither need nor want. This idea that we have always had full employment prior to the invention of the Welfare State and that non Welfare State Countries have full employment is a fiction. There are vast numbers of people across the World who are not in any formal employment and no sane or decent person is suggesting that refuse scavengers crawling on rubbish dumps constitutes an economic model for us to follow.

So, what are the real, viable responses to conclusive proof turning exposing the link between immigration and unemployment among local groups?

Let us all get one thing clear, closing our borders to new immigrants is not a viable option in the near future. Nor are we cattle trucking Eastern Europeans out of the Country either.

So how do we make a fifty five year old, angina sufferer recently made redundant old father of two more attractive to a potential employer than a roomful of young, fit healthy Eastern European men who sleep five to a room? Make him homeless, cut his dole money, drown his kids? If only he was willing to live in a shed, he would be better off?

How do we make a young person with childcare issues more employable than a Polish woman with no dependents? Drown her kids?

The Left cannot just shy away from this just because we might not like the answer. My gut instinct is that immigrants do shunt people out of the labour market, but the trick is not to ignore it, the trick is how to adapt to it and deal with that displacement as humanely as possible.

Well the ‘association’ must mean either that immigration contributes to higher unemployment of at least a ratio of 1 in 13, or that growing unemployment tends to cause to immigration. So which do you think is more likely or logical, espcially in view of the fact that most of the immigration has preceded the rise in unemployment?

“As things stand, there is no conclusive evidence which shows that cutting immigration will make a significant contribution to reducing unemployment,”

Now your position is becoming clearer. You are probably right and immigration does not make a large contribution to unemployment – for one thing, increasing the size of a population means increasing the consumer and business base, so it is not simply a case of removing job opportunities from an absolutely static pool, it is a question of whether the taking up of jobs by immigrants is less than or exceeds in worth the accompanying expansion of the economy. Expanding the population can have a neutral or positive economic effect if you keep expanding the economy at the same or better rate. It is reasonable to argue that increased immigration over the past decade both contributed to the expansion of the economy AND was in part a result of the expansion of the economy – i.e. it attracted both those who helped expand the economy and those who have taken rather than contributed. And obviously employment levels are not the sole indication of an economy’s strength, though by the same token, the (current at any time) strength of an economy is not the sole indication of the strength of a society (now or in future).

But in any case, it is fairly obvious that increasing immigration has had some negative effect on unemployment for some years, especially among the young who have no work experience and are thus at a fundamental disadvantage compared to those with experience (from inside and outside the country). Effectively you appear to be arguing that this does not amount to that much of a negative effect. Okay, well it may just as well be argued that reducing unemployment by, say, 100,000 doesn’t amount to much. Compared to reducing it by a million, that is of course correct. But it makes a big difference to the 100,000 people themselves, and has an effect in what can be taxed and what must be paid out of taxes.

So there is an onus on the ‘it doesn’t make unemployment much worse’ position to argue how this disadvantage is outweighed by the advantages to high immigration. This would logically require consideration of a number of pros and cons for either the pro or anti-immigration position re not just employment and consumer base, but also energy resources, housing, social cohesion, crime, education and health resources. I actually think unemployment is one of the less decisive factors in all this, though still on the evidence a negative – one in 13 is still around 8% of unemployment. But anyhow, you have to make a case for the overall effect being beneficial rather than negative.

4. Anon E Mouse

Isn’t it quite obvious that if the lazy indigenous population are paid to languish on benefits with taxes paid by foreign workers doing the jobs they should be doing then it is bound to affect employment levels?

To suggest otherwise is as credible as claiming to have abolished “Boom and Bust”.

If there are 10 jobs to be done by 20 people, 10 of who are foreign then 10 people are going to be left workless.

Why on earth the Labour Party (the clue is supposed to be in the name) ever got hitched to this mindless situation of flooding the country with people willing to work instead of forcing those who live here to do the jobs I do not know.

To me it is racist to expect foreign individuals to do the jobs we won’t like fruit picking etc.

It’s about time Labour started representing those of us on minimum wages and caring more about their own population instead of someone else’s…

@ Jim

“The Left cannot just shy away from this just because we might not like the answer. My gut instinct is that immigrants do shunt people out of the labour market, but the trick is not to ignore it, the trick is how to adapt to it and deal with that displacement as humanely as possible.”

Absolutely. You can’t solve a problem, large or small, that you refuse to acknowledge exists. And if you fail to do so it may just turn into another, more serious problem. It should be possible to address this honestly without pandering to racists and sensationalism.

Employment by country of birth and nationality, changes on year (not seasonally adjusted).

http://www.businessinsider.com/uk-foreign-born-vs-domestic-born-in-employment-2011-12

7. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 Lamia

“Well the ‘association’ must mean either that immigration contributes to higher unemployment of at least a ratio of 1 in 13, or that growing unemployment tends to cause to immigration.”

Well, no. They could both be effects of the same cause.

One thing worth checking (I don’t have time to peruse the report now) is whether or not these figure take into account the overall long-term increase in absolute job numbers caused by immigration.

Okay, so what is the third cause then, Chaise?

There’s still no conclusive evidence immigration causes unemployment

Hold presses: Govt report everything fine.

Okay, okay–not quite.

Govt report can’t rule out the possibility that everything is fine.

Close enough. Take that, MigrationWatch!

To me it is racist to expect foreign individuals to do the jobs we won’t like fruit picking etc

If UK labour doesn’t want to get out of bed to pick fruit at the minimum wage then the solution is a higher wage for fruit pickers, not imported foreign workers doing it for less so that the wage arbitrageurs at the top of the food chain get to extract maximum share of the national income.

It is curious that the left-wing principle of fair wages for the lowest paid is conveniently shelved when the undercutting may in some ways be caused by immigrantion. What seems to underlie this is a snobbish and callous attitude on the part of some leftists and liberals that this is a sort of valid payback for the attitudes of Tories like Michael Heseltine. It is a give away as to their real attitudes towards the low paid and unemployed indigenous population: they claim to speak for them but they despise them.

It’s certainly amusing how quickly left-wingers become neoliberals whenever the subject of debate turns to immigration.

Anon E mouse @ 4

Why on earth the Labour Party (the clue is supposed to be in the name) ever got hitched to this mindless situation of flooding the country with people willing to work instead of forcing those who live here to do the jobs I do not know.

Good grief, why do we have to go through with this on every debate on this board? Where does this shite come from?

Why is it that whenever a discussion comes along about any subject what so ever, do we have to abandon all reason and the evidence of our own eyes and then move into some kind of personal parallel Universe and then expect us all to pretend that is how it works?

That is not how the labour market works and we all know it. Employers cannot and are not forced to employ people. They put adverts in the paper, send out application forms accept C.Vs and arrange interviews, with perhaps a small test, before choosing the best candidate for the job.

If British people have fewer skills than their Polish counterparts then, you cannot force the Brits to take the jobs, can you? The government cannot say to Tescos, this guy has none of the skills you require, but you have to take him anyway?

14. Chaise Guevara

@ 8 Lamia

“Okay, so what is the third cause then, Chaise?”

I didn’t say there was one, just pointed out that you were pushing a false certainty in there (i.e. that if unemployment doesn’t cause immigration then immigration must cause unemployment).

But if I had to pick a possible cause off the top of my head, how about a credit crunch leading to economic downturns around the world? Or a general trend of rising life expectancies?

15. Chaise Guevara

@ 11 Lamia

“It is curious that the left-wing principle of fair wages for the lowest paid is conveniently shelved when the undercutting may in some ways be caused by immigrantion. What seems to underlie this is a snobbish and callous attitude on the part of some leftists and liberals that this is a sort of valid payback for the attitudes of Tories like Michael Heseltine.”

This is only “curious” if you conveniently forget that many prospective immigrants are poorly paid, and indeed trying to immigrate so they can earn more money. And believe me, it’s entirely possible to come up with a pro-immigration attitude that doesn’t involve talking about Heseltine.

“It is a give away as to their real attitudes towards the low paid and unemployed indigenous population: they claim to speak for them but they despise them.”

That would be a total assumption on your part. If you’re going to demonise people, at least try to use facts and logic instead of parrotting out tripe to confirm your prejudices. Cheers!

Anon E Mouse

There’s something quintissentially beautiful about your rants.

You’re as mad as a March Hare but let nothing take away from the way you vent your spleen into the internet.

Isn’t it quite obvious that if the lazy indigenous population are paid to languish on benefits with taxes paid by foreign workers doing the jobs they should be doing then it is bound to affect employment levels?

Didn’t unemployment keep on falling despite the initial wave of Eastern European immigration in 2006?

Didn’t unemployment keep on falling despite the initial wave of Eastern European immigration in 2006?

What is your counterfactual?

18. Anon E Mouse

@10 – vimothy

Your idea of a solution of a higher wage sounds great but the problem is you are giving people a choice – to work or stay in bed all day. If that choice wasn’t available by making people turn up for 40 hours a week to get their benefits they would soon look for work.

The problem with the welfare state is it allows idleness where it is more financially beneficial to not work and that is madness….

19. Anon E Mouse

@13 – Jim

“This sh**te* as you so eloquently put it is called a fact.

Then you conclude:

“If British people have fewer skills than their Polish counterparts then, you cannot force the Brits to take the jobs, can you? The government cannot say to Tescos, this guy has none of the skills you require, but you have to take him anyway?”

Are you seriously asking people to believe that under 13 years of a Labour government education got so bad that UK nationals are so poorly qualified they cannot pick fruit in an orchard in Norfolk or stack shelves in Tesco’s?

What happened to the Labour Party having aspirations and a desire to help the WORKING classes improve their lot?

And yes given a choice between no benefits or doing a job they don’t like you can force people to work…

20. Anon E Mouse

@16 – BenM

For month after month of our online conversations every time I give statistics to prove my point you disappear. Still here you go.

You asked if employment in 2006 went up try this:

“Unemployment at seven-year high” (November 2006):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6149830.stm

Anon E Mouse @ 18, 19

Oh FFS!!!!!!!

If that choice wasn’t available by making people turn up for 40 hours a week to get their benefits they would soon look for work.

Where are these fucking jobs? If these jobs exist, then instead of getting people to work to retain benefits, why not simply employ people to actually do the work and pay them a living wage instead? Wouldn’t that make more sense?

The problem with the welfare state is it allows idleness where it is more financially beneficial to not work and that is madness….

Who the fuck was paying all those ex servicemen to be idle between the wars when something approaching 25% of the male workforce was unemployed? Why did Germany have so many lazy people then, too? And theAmericans? And who is still paying millions of East Europeans to be lazy, given that unemployment iseven worse in Countries that have little or no Welfare States? All over the World, there are people attempting to scrape together a living without Welfare States, yet still they ‘refuse’ to get work? Who is paying children in San Paulo to be unemployed?

Are you seriously asking people to believe that under 13 years of a Labour government education got so bad that UK nationals are so poorly qualified they cannot pick fruit in an orchard in Norfolk or stack shelves in Tescos

So, no one in Britain ever stacks a shelf or picks fruit?

22. Anon E Mouse

@21 – Jim

Jim please calm down dear and stop the swearing – I realise that educational standards are low after 13 years of a Labour government but there are other words you can use.

What happened to the Labour Party having aspirations and a desire to help the WORKING classes improve their lot?

You seem to have missed my point on that one and I ask again:

“Are you seriously asking people to believe that under 13 years of a Labour government education got so bad that UK nationals are so poorly qualified they cannot pick fruit in an orchard in Norfolk or stack shelves in Tesco’s?”

Are you seriously suggesting that it is better to spend money on benefits instead of these people working?

If there are 10 jobs and 20 people, half UK nationals and half foreigners and the foreigners don’t do the jobs then the 10 UK nationals would have to do them.

Why should I work my whole life (in awful low paid jobs the majority of the time) and never take a penny in benefits (apart form Child Benefit) and people on benefits have the choice not to work and live in better housing than I do?

What is wrong with Labour supporters – how can they have lost touch with normal people so quickly?

Labour used to support the WORKING CLASSES Jim…

@22

and people on benefits have the choice not to work and live in better housing than I do?

Going back over half a decade when I was on jobseekers allowance, applying for jobs left right and centre till finally I got an interview, and well, here we are today. Had I know I could simply CHOOSE to wander into say Asda, start stacking the shelves and whumpf I’ve got a job, well, I wouldn’t have fucked about applying for jobs I could tell you.

Anon E mouse @ 22

What happened to the Labour Party having aspirations and a desire to help the WORKING classes improve their lot?

You do not help working people by attacking the unemployed though, do you? Taking thirty quid a week from an unemployed family does not actually make the low paid person better off, does it? In fact if you live in an area of high unemployment you will find that it is the small but steady income from the unemployment benefits that keeps your local shops and business afloat. Try it for a month, in any unemployment blackspot.

Get your local chamber of Commerce to try an experiment. Put signs up saying ‘no unemployed’ up and make sure you bar all benefit claimants from spending their giros in those shops. Pretty soon most of those shop will be out of business.

“Are you seriously asking people to believe that under 13 years of a Labour government education got so bad that UK nationals are so poorly qualified they cannot pick fruit in an orchard in Norfolk or stack shelves in Tesco’s?”

Does it ever occour to you to ask Tecso the answer to that question? Surely if the Polish people are better quailified fot those jobs, Tesco will employ those people. My local Tesco have dozens of British workers, so I cannot see what you are driving at.

Are you seriously suggesting that it is better to spend money on benefits instead of these people working?

Try and grasp this point. Lets say the local Tesco require ten people to stack shelves. However, under your halfwit scheme, instead of employing ten people and giving them jobs, the Government gives them 10 unpaid ‘work for their giro’ people instead. Then what? Lets say ASDA in the same town need ten people as well. So the Government gives them another ten. So instead of having twenty new jobs we have the same number of unemployed doin work for free. So the local Morrisons get into the act and they SACK ten people and take them on as ‘placements’. They cannot get other jobs as shelf stackers, because the market has been killed of with one fell swoop. As the big supermarkets start to get wise to the idea, the smaller companies start to get the same idea and within months those people who used to work are now being replaced by non employed people. Unemployment rises and those who used to earn wages are loosing their jobs.

Have you helped the working class? No, you have not, all you have done is feed vindictive arseholes too stupid to see the logical outcome of their halfwitted policies.

Why should I work my whole life (in awful low paid jobs the majority of the time) and never take a penny in benefits (apart form Child Benefit) and people on benefits have the choice not to work and live in better housing than I do?

Have you ever wondered why your wages are so low? In fact lower than the level of benefits in some cases?

Have you ever sat down and asked yourself if the Welfare State never existed, what would happen to your wages? What would happen if the pressure on the labour market pushed the price of labour down further?

Try this for a little thought. Look at these low paid jobs and find out what equivilant peson gets where where no welfare State exists. Try looking at what people get in Johansburg, Cape Town, San Paulo or Bombay and what kind of houses they live in. Then try and relate that to you.

Why are your wages so low? Why not just move to better paid job? Perhaps there were fewer jobs to go round? Then what? What if you got so sick no one would want to employ you, then what? What if you were forced to give up work, then what?

Be carefull what you wish for.

25. Anon E Mouse

@23 – Cylux

Well the McDonalds near to me employs two hard working polish blokes – polite and efficient and they actually smile when you approach the counter.

Clearly they have managed to go into McDonalds in another country and whumpf they have jobs.

So why can’t people round the corner in Merthyr Tydfil do the same?

Anon E mouse @ 25

So why can’t people round the corner in Merthyr Tydfil do the same?

Er, the two jobs are already taken by people with better skillsets? It perhaps never occured to you that there are not an endless supply of jobs?

27. Anon E Mouse

@24 – Jim

Typical New Labour – misrepresent my position then criticise me for something I never said.

When did I say anyone had to work at Tesco’s for nothing? When did I mention the amount of benefits a person gets?

I do live in an employment blackspot and do a minimum wage manual(ish at present) job. I just happen to believe that the Labour Party I voted for my whole life no longer cares about the poor and so far no one has proven I’m wrong.

It’s not just having a countess toff as deputy leader or a hapless tax avoiding property millionaire who hasn’t a single days work in his life nor is it stunts like the 10p tax and things but by flooding this country with workers doing unskilled jobs that Brits should be doing and there is no excuse for not doing.

Labour’s own Andrew Nether reported they had done it unless you know better.

You can argue until you’re blue in the face Jim but if you are seriously believe that a job taken by someone to allow another person to languish on the dole is good then the left has a long long way to go to gain any kind of credibility.

And if you cannot grasp that by giving foreigners jobs we could do won’t reduce the number of jobs available (by exactly the number of jobs foreigners do) then next you’ll be telling me there are WMD in Iraq.

Oh and when you mention soldiers not working between wars (how old are you?) you will I’m sure be demanding Gordon Brown is sacked as an MP since he never seems to be in the HOC. Which is probably a good thing I suppose.

Oh and before you start more smearing you may be interested to know I’m only half English myself – I happen to know Labour lost the last election as well.

Good eh?

AEM @ 27

I have never voted Labour (New or Old) in my life.

When did I say anyone had to work at Tesco’s for nothing? When did I mention the amount of benefits a person gets?

Try this little gem @ 18

If that choice wasn’t available by making people turn up for 40 hours a week to get their benefits they would soon look for work.

do live in an employment blackspot and do a minimum wage manual(ish at present) job.

Does it never occur to you that the Welfare State props up that very job and that very wage. Tell me, why are you not in a better waged job? Why not go down the job centre and simply get a better paid job? I will tell you, it is because the number of people looking for work far outnumbers the jobs avialable. There is simply not enough work to go round.

job taken by someone to allow another person to languish on the dole is good then the left has a long long way to go to gain any kind of credibility.

Eh? What is the possible alternative? The second guy should steal the first person’s job? What are you suggesting we do? Seriously? What can we do if two people go for one job? Kill one of them?

And if you cannot grasp that by giving foreigners jobs we could do won’t reduce the number of jobs available

Christ man, get a grip, it is not ‘us’ that are giving foreigners the jobs. It is the private sector!!!!!! How do you stop the private sector allowing foreigners to apply for jobs?

@ Chaise,

“how about a credit crunch leading to economic downturns around the world? Or a general trend of rising life expectancies?”

How did the credit crunch lead to a large increase in immigration in the years BEFORE it?

30. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 Lamia

Once AGAIN, I’m not saying I have a specific theory that I’m advancing as a better explanation. I’m just saying that your whole “if immigration didn’t cause joblessness then joblessness must have caused immigration” line is bullshit. Introducing some basic rationality.

The only point I’m making is that you haven’t made yours. I’m not going to type this out for you a third time, just go back to post 14 and actually READ it this time.

31. Anon E Mouse

@28 – Jim

Your style is straight from the New Labour handbook of smearing – it’s a fair comment. Either that or you have some university degree where you developed an idea that normal people support some childish socialist principals that most students grow out of by the age of 22 when reality kicks in.

How many hours have you spent doing minimum wage jobs Jim? (Certainly more than Ed Balls or Ed Miliband though I wager…)

I ask again: When did I say anyone had to work at Tesco’s for nothing?

If you took a second to actually think about my comments you may be a little less inclined to start drooling and go off on one at your keyboard although I suspect that’s your “dap” at they say locally.

Get the unemployed to turn up for 40 hours a week at centres to learn the basic skills required to get a job and eventually they will get a job. Hey since Labour’s educational achievements mean a lot of students leave school totally unequipped for life perhaps the three r’s would help. (Look it up on Wikipedia Jim)

There aren’t many jobs I agree but it simply cannot help if the country brings in more and more workers to do fewer and fewer jobs.

Tell you what how about “British Jobs for British Workers” – now there’s a novel idea.

Imagine a country that supports it’s fishing fleet by not allowing other countries to fish in it’s water… wow how cool would that be.

And you are still failing to explain where my logic is incorrect when I say if there are 10 jobs and only 10 people then all would have a job.

But if there are 10 jobs and 20 people only half would have a job. Your education under the last Labour government is showing here.

You say “there aren’t enough jobs to go round” then why support bringing even more workers in – it’s nuts.

Your comments on “shooting people” over jobs is frankly pathetic and not worth commenting on.

And you stop the private sector giving jobs to foreigners by positively discriminating in favour of Brits and if our people need up-skilling then let’s try that because your wailing and throwing your hands about whilst dreaming about your state controlled utopia is never going to happen I’m afraid…

How do you stop the private sector allowing foreigners to apply for jobs?

We have these things called “rules”…

It perhaps never occured to you that there are not an endless supply of jobs?

Wait, wait… what?

AEM @ 31

Get the unemployed to turn up for 40 hours a week at centres to learn the basic skills required to get a job and eventually they will get a job.

I wish it were as simple as that, AEM, honestly, I wish it was. I am genuinely not trying to rude here, I understand where you are comming from, but it is simply not viable. We have been here before and wishing unemployment away didn’t work then and it will never work now.

The problem is that you are training people for work that currently does not exist. People at the lower end of the labour market are normally there for a reason, the best you can do is attempt to train people for jobs where skill shortages in the economy. The trouble is that unemployed people tend to have lower skill sets to start with which makes it difficult to give them the amount of training it takes for them to leap frog people already in the marketplace.

This type of thing has been tried before in the 1990s and was a rather expensive flop. It is a nice idea to take unemployed people and train them to be bricklayers for example, but the return to work rate is still shockingly low. All you do is enrich the service providers. Think about it for second.

Say we have sixty thousand brickes in the Country during normal times. Then we have unemployment and six thousand (10%) of them lose their jobs. Unemployment goes up and we want to get the long term unemployed back into work. Before this we hothouse four thousand people who are capable of learning to be bricklayers, but now we have ten thousand people chasing those jobs, but the ‘real’ bricklayers have the edge because real bricklaying is a more desirable skill than ‘been on a course’ bricklaying. At the end of the day you get four thousand people (give or take a few hundred who get something out of it) people still without work, trained at massive cost to the taxpayer.

Employers do not value these people because it has ‘Government Course’ written all over it.

And you stop the private sector giving jobs to foreigners by positively discriminating in favour of Brits

Simply not going to happen, even it was viable. The thing is no company is going to attempt to upskill people when there is a useable workforce sitting on your doorstep. No Government could or would stop that from happening, even if they could.

Vimothy @ 32

We have these things called “rules”…

Yes, but you will never be able to write such a rule, in or out of the EU. I actually doubt you would find it too difficult to bypass EU law on this, IF you really put a mind to it, but you have a harder lobby to tackle, The CBI.

If you think the Tory Party are going to block people like ASDA and Tesco, et al access to a pool of talented labour, just so they are somehow forced to employ the disabled or the unemployable, you are sadly mistaken.

The middle aged angina sufferer attaching his ‘fit to work’ Atos certificate to an application is going to be disapointed when the HR department have fifty Polish CVs from fit, healthy, thirty olds on his desk.

Couple of ideas you may try? Here’s one. Force banks, IT support and insurance companies to employ British only call centres. That should English speaking people should have the edge over their East European counterparts for a start.

Half a million people work in outsourced call centres all over Asia and India.

35. So Much For Subtlety

2. Jim

People are out competed in the labour market every day in every part of the World where anything approaching a free(ish) labour exists.

That must explain why Hong Kong has such a high unemployment rate. Or China for that matter. It looks to me that unemployment and protection go hand in hand – countries have high levels of both or low levels of both. Why do you think otherwise?

There is little point in the Left crying over that because unless you change over to an entirely planned and successful economy, there are always going to be people who employers neither need nor want.

Why? Notice that even if you change over to an entirely planned economy – and I love that “successful” bit, it is just like saying all our problems would be solved if we moved over to an economy powered by Unicorns – those workers would still not be needed or wanted. It is just that we will have to pay for them to pretend to work. So why not pay them to pretend to work now?

This idea that we have always had full employment prior to the invention of the Welfare State and that non Welfare State Countries have full employment is a fiction.

A pity that all the evidence suggests otherwise isn’t it?

There are vast numbers of people across the World who are not in any formal employment and no sane or decent person is suggesting that refuse scavengers crawling on rubbish dumps constitutes an economic model for us to follow.

I see you have switched to “formal employment”. Sure, in places like Brazil and Egypt, the ruling party reserves all the good jobs for its own (usually paler skinned) friends. So a lot of people work informally. They are still employed. People pick over rubbish dumps because they are poor and ill-educated. It cannot happen in Britain barring a collapse in the economy. The model works whether they have a planned economy or not. Because people have to work. The question is whether or not they have the skills to do better work.

Let us all get one thing clear, closing our borders to new immigrants is not a viable option in the near future. Nor are we cattle trucking Eastern Europeans out of the Country either.

Why isn’t it a viable option?

So how do we make a fifty five year old, angina sufferer recently made redundant old father of two more attractive to a potential employer than a roomful of young, fit healthy Eastern European men who sleep five to a room? Make him homeless, cut his dole money, drown his kids? If only he was willing to live in a shed, he would be better off?

We could stop bringing in new Eastern Europeans.

How do we make a young person with childcare issues more employable than a Polish woman with no dependents? Drown her kids?

We can stop putting incentives in her way to make sure she ends up as a single mother with childcare issues. Like stop paying for her to have children out of wedlock. It provides no benefit to anyone to do so.

@35 China’s unemployment rate is 4.1% compared with Britain’s rate of 8.3%. China also has significantly more people living there, thus they arrive with more unemployed people than we do. Approximately 11 times as much in fact. So despite having a better unemployment rate their unemployment ‘problem’ is 11 times greater than our own.

37. So Much For Subtlety

36. Cylux

China’s unemployment rate is 4.1% compared with Britain’s rate of 8.3%. China also has significantly more people living there, thus they arrive with more unemployed people than we do. Approximately 11 times as much in fact. So despite having a better unemployment rate their unemployment ‘problem’ is 11 times greater than our own.

The Chinese government doesn’t have a clue what is going on in the Chinese economy. No one has a clue what is going on in the Chinese economy. Their unemployment rate could be anywhere between 0 and 50% for all the official figures matter a damn.

However 4% is what you would expect with “frictional” unemployment – you know, people moving between jobs and so on. More so in China given the average length of time anyone stays in any one job is less than 24 months. In fact it is so close to what you would expect that I think they have probably made it up.

The rest of this post is bizarre. They have a bigger population and so what? Their problem involves more people, but proportionally it is much smaller. That is a good thing. But above all, they don’t have this parasitic drag of about 5-10% of the population that simply does not want to work and so chooses not to. Because they do not offer life time benefits to people who don’t want to work. They don’t have a problem. As they don’t have a problem with people on Disability. Because the government doesn’t give them a damn thing. Individuals may have a problem. Families may have a problem. But the Chinese do not.

38. So Much For Subtlety

33. Jim

We have been here before and wishing unemployment away didn’t work then and it will never work now.

There is no such thing as unemployment except in the short term. We have a different problem. We have people who don’t want to work. Harass them enough and they will get jobs. Or just wait until they grow up and choose something else.

The problem is that you are training people for work that currently does not exist. People at the lower end of the labour market are normally there for a reason, the best you can do is attempt to train people for jobs where skill shortages in the economy. The trouble is that unemployed people tend to have lower skill sets to start with which makes it difficult to give them the amount of training it takes for them to leap frog people already in the marketplace.

There is no evidence we are training people for jobs that don’t exist. People at the lower end of the market are there for a reason – and this is where most new immigrants start out. The lower end of the market has huge demand. The last time I talked to an economist who worked on the government’s reports, the only part of the British economy that had any demand was in the lowest end of the market. We have enough engineers, we need more taxi drivers. The problem for people on the dole is that everyone knows it is destructive and so no one in their right mind will give them a job. The solution is to prevent other people ending up in the same dead end.

This type of thing has been tried before in the 1990s and was a rather expensive flop. It is a nice idea to take unemployed people and train them to be bricklayers for example, but the return to work rate is still shockingly low. All you do is enrich the service providers. Think about it for second.

Sure. It means that people on the dole don’t want to work.

Simply not going to happen, even it was viable. The thing is no company is going to attempt to upskill people when there is a useable workforce sitting on your doorstep. No Government could or would stop that from happening, even if they could.

That is probably true – we are benefiting from the taxes paid by Polish people to fund their educations. But the problem is that the most important skills are not taught in that way. They are things like turning up. Doing the job asked. Not stealing. All skills the British have lost. Because the dole corrupts them. The system needs to change so that we support people in work, not out of it.

No debate on unemployment would be complete without one of the more odious members of the Tory vermin weighing in with more Tory crap. Most of the decent people will be able to ignore this fuckwit, but SMFS does actually represent the true face of Tory England.

The ones with the smiles and fake concern are the liars.

Another comments sections goes down the tubes as SMFS pisses all over it.

40. Anon E Mouse

@33 – Jim

The thing you seem unwilling to accept is that if you no longer allow overseas workers to reside and work her then those jobs will have to be done by locals.

I’ll tell you a worse one though. My oppo is a plumber who has to compete with Poles who will do work he used to get £15-£20 a hour for (it’s South Wales and wages are low here) but they will work for the minimum wage and he is knackered and Working Families Tax Credits are all he has to survive.

Inadvertently the Minimum Wage has driven down the wages of skilled individuals as well and personally I would have have bands of pay.

I don’t know what to do but we are an island and surely we can sort something out?

Clearly our positions are opposed but at least you didn’t swear at me in your last post which is good so have a good day fella….

@38 Well the argument advanced by yourself and anon is that the 5 million or so British unemployed are mainly unemployed due to their idle nature encouraged by benefits. Meanwhile, the 55 million unemployed in china are unemployed due to… Well, what, exactly?
Could it possibly be because there isn’t enough jobs?

@40 The problem with your stance is that thanks to globalisation we currently have, regarding the free movement of things over borders:

Capital: Let the markets decide
Jobs: Let the markets decide
Labour: er, I think government best control this one.

So while restricting incoming labour looks on the face of it that it will improve wages and conditions for workers here, what’s far more likely is that the jobs and wages will merely piss off abroad again. It’s the right’s problem that they cannot reconcile free markets with nationalism, not the left’s.

43. So Much For Subtlety

41. Cylux

Well the argument advanced by yourself and anon is that the 5 million or so British unemployed are mainly unemployed due to their idle nature encouraged by benefits. Meanwhile, the 55 million unemployed in china are unemployed due to… Well, what, exactly?
Could it possibly be because there isn’t enough jobs?

The 55 million unemployed in China are, as I said, at best a guess. We don’t know what the figures are. However we would expect a rate of about 4% as people move from one job to another. As I said, the average Chinese worker stays in one job for about two years. So you have an estimate which is about the frictional rate.

As China does virtually nothing for the unemployed, they have an enormous incentive to find work. So they do. China has destroyed hundreds of millions of jobs over the last few decades. They have also created hundreds of millions more. Entire regions have been devastated – as in the Thatcher years. The old industrial heartland of the North East for instance has seen their Soviet- and Japanese-era industry close and tens of millions of people thrown out of work. Which has flow on effects. But they have all got new jobs. They do not have the permanently unemployed because they are not so dumb as to pay them to be idle indefinitely.

Nor does Switzerland by the way. Historically perhaps the best country to copy.

44. Anon E Mouse

@41 – Cylux

No my argument doesn’t consider the total number of jobs available – that isn’t the point.

If there are X jobs available and X+Y workers to do those jobs then there will be some who cannot get one of those jobs.

Remove Y from the equation and make X workers DO those jobs and let Y work in their own country while we have unemployment here.

Hey let them do the same to us in their own country as well.

As for the benefits it shouldn’t be a choice – people should just have to work even if they don’t like the job offered.

Tell me this though why doesn’t Labour represent the WORKING classes anymore and just seem obsessed with immigration?

I disliked the useless Gordon Brown (as much as everyone else in this country) but he was onto something with his “British Jobs for British Workers” I feel…

AEM @ 40

The thing you seem unwilling to accept is that if you no longer allow overseas workers to reside and work her then those jobs will have to be done by locals.

No, you are missing the point. I agree with you here, to a point, but stopping these people comming here is the problem. It is simply not viable for all kinds of reasons. Sure you could pull out of the EU, but that would take years rather than months.

What we need is a viable solution that will work today, not ten years from now.

I’ll tell you a worse one though. My oppo is a plumber who has to compete with Poles who will do work he used to get £15-£20 a hour for (it’s South Wales and wages are low here) but they will work for the minimum wage and he is knackered and Working Families Tax Credits are all he has to survive.

Free market competition at its finest. I bet your mate would happily pay someone half the price of a British tradesman if he thought he would get away with it. To be honest, your mate was profiteering before the Skilled Poles came to this Country.

Inadvertently the Minimum Wage has driven down the wages of skilled individuals as well and personally I would have have bands of pay.

I cannot see this at all. I cannot see how banding would work.

I don’t know what to do but we are an island and surely we can sort something out?

The problem with trying to work something out is that we a problem with actually looking at the problem openly and honestly.

It is easy to make assumptions about society and unemployment if we ignore reality and instead hone in on a few cases and decide that we can draw up a policy based on the rantings of Tory nutters. It would be great if unemployment did not exist as the lice on this board believed, but the reality is that we have millions of people looking for jobs that just do not exist.

@44 Jobs simply aren’t being offered though. It’s not like every person on JSA has been actually offered a job and then refused it cos they’d rather sit on their arse. For a start, that’d lose them their benefits, obvious laziness is already targeted by the current system. To continue to gain JSA you have to apply for jobs, attend interviews, and actively prove that you really are looking for work. Employers receive so many applications for positions that sheer blind luck now plays a factor in if you even get an interview. They could quite happily toss 3/4′s of all their applications unopened into the bin and still find a suitable applicant in the remaining pile. Employees, especially prospective employees do not have power over their employers, and are instead subject to the whims of employers.

AEM @ 44

As for the benefits it shouldn’t be a choice – people should just have to work even if they don’t like the job offered.

Arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh

Can I ask a question here? How do you think this works?

Do you really actually believe there is an endless list of jobs out there? Do you really think people are turning down jobs everyday?

This is the type of idiocy we see every day in this Country. You really need to try and get a handle on this.

Now do you understand why I think you are acting like a moron?

Cyclux @ 47

They could quite happily toss 3/4?s of all their applications unopened into the bin and still find a suitable applicant in the remaining pile.

Doing this means you weed people who are naturally unlucky in life.

49. Anon E Mouse

@47 – Jim

It’s life Jim but maybe not as you know it.

1. If you are saying there are not enough jobs to go round then how can it help to bring more workers in?

Let’s keep it simple to start and see if you can work it out in stages. Please do not spend time discussing skills blah blah in your reply and then we can move onto point 2…

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/02/on-ruling-class-anti-racism.html

In today’s migration economy, similar principles apply. Migrants often have shaky legal status, even if they have documentation. The TUC points out that even where the legal status of migrant workers is insuperable, they are made unaware of their rights and are usually unable to enforce them short of high-risk militancy. This is a situation that is maintained on purpose as it provides low cost labour to both private and public sector institutions. Most migrants live in cramped, collective accomodation, are transported collectively, eat collectively, and any families they support are based in poorer countries where average incomes and prices are lower, thus reducing the amount of any remittance that needs to be sent. Hence, the cost of their labour is reduced. This means that more jobs are created that otherwise could not possibly have been created. The effect of the last big wave of labour migration in the UK, consistent with this outline, was to increase total employment without decreasing unemployment or job vacancies. New jobs were created because employers could afford the cheaper labour, but the old jobs were not filled because they weren’t available to migrant workers and because a set of geographical and skill factors excluded local workers from taking those jobs.

51. abdul abulbul emir

Mrs A says:

What’s all this about us immigrants causing unemployment Abdul ?

When we turned up all the Whites moved out. So how could we ’cause’ anything ?

After all it’s them who moved. We didn’t make them.

Did we ?

peace


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    There's still no conclusive evidence immigration causes unemployment http://t.co/T5pRfLtY

  2. Cairistiona Russell

    There's still no conclusive evidence immigration causes unemployment http://t.co/T5pRfLtY

  3. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : There ’s still no conclusive evidence immigration causes unemployment http://t.co/bAjEuHMn

  4. Quarries & Corridors

    There's still no conclusive evidence immigration causes unemployment: http://t.co/Gvkqczpm It seems that Tuesday's news story was propaganda

  5. Hector A. Chichoni

    There’s still no conclusive evidence immigration causes unemployment | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ET2kfc4f via @libcon





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.