Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong


10:55 am - May 24th 2012

by Richard Exell    


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At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (19 minutes in), Mr Cameron repeated his claim that his government has created 600,000 net new private sector jobs (hat-tip: @D_Blanchflower).

As Channel 4′s Fact Check has noted, this is a claim the Prime Minister likes to repeat, even though it has been disproved a number of times; yesterday’s figure simply updates similar data he quoted last year.

This is surprising, because a closer look at the relevant statistics reveals a story that is less flattering to the government.

The election took place in the middle of the second quarter of 2010, which ran from April to June. And it is true that in latest figures – for the final quarter of 2011 – private sector employment was 634,000 higher than it had been in the first quarter of 2010. Public sector employment was 381,000 lower.

But let’s look at the figures for each quarter from the ONS and how they change:

That extra 314,000 private sector jobs in the second quarter of 2010 is important to the argument here.

Without it, the government’s private sector job creation total falls to 320,000 – less than the 350,000 public sector jobs lost.

Fact Check have had a great deal of fun with a straight face, trying to work out how many of the 314,000 jobs were created in April and early May of 2010 and how many in late May and June. But of course, the government cannot plausibly claim responsibility for any of the increase that took place that quarter – if the change had been in the other direction we can be sure they’d have blamed it on Gordon Brown.

Why does the PM continue to draw our attention to figures that actually highlight one of his government’s failures? It’s a bit of a conundrum – any suggestions?

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About the author
Richard is an regular contributor. He is the TUC’s Senior Policy Officer covering social security, tax credits and labour market issues.
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Reader comments


1. Shinsei1967

“Why does the PM continue to draw our attention to figures that actually highlight one of his government’s failures? It’s a bit of a conundrum – any suggestions?”

I suspect because he has been partially vindicated that his claim that private sector employment would increase despite the government’s “austerity” programme.

It’s interesting that you hat-tip David Blanchflower. Read his Independent articles from back in June 2010 and he was forecasting 100s of thousands of overall job losses.

The current situation is clearly not good, but nor have the dire predictions of the ultra-Keynesians been proved correct.

Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong.

In simple terms hes a proven LIAR.

3. Shrugged...

Sorry but you can’t spin this away on this technicality without also lumbering Gorden Brown with the whole double dip.

This government’s economic record is dire on so many fronts it’s getting embarrassing.

I don’t think the 600,000 claim is necessarily wrong at all.

The government can make a claim that the prospect, in the first and into the second quarter of 2010, of them coming to power instilled the private sector with the confidence they needed to invest and employ more people. This was a very strong part of the Tories’ election narrative, and it would actually be a surprise if it hadn’t worked – they were going to get a grip where Labour had lost it, the markets had confidence in them etc etc.

So I think the argument to be made here is less about Cameron’s ‘flexibility’ with data, well-established a trend though that is, and more about the difference between what they promised and what they have delivered, now reflected in massive corporate surpluses as the private sector refuses to invest.

I have it on reliable authority that David Cameron personally saved the Earth from an attack by the Klingons, directed from Planet Wonga.
I don’t know anybody, Earthling or Alien who believes a single Government statistic, irrespective of Left or Right, good, bad or indifferent .
If you ask anybody a question, first ask yourself is it in their interest to lie to you.
In the case of a politician, government department, quango, Parish, Local or District Council, etc., etc, the answer will always be yes.
If you want to find out what the jobs’ market is like, apply for a job, and maybe find yourself one of 267 other applicants.
Apparently people feel disconnected from politics – who’d have thought?

7. ex-Labour voter

On an entirely different, but very important, subject:

If you want to help stop Trident, please ask your MP to sign EDM 96.
Sponsored by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, it also has the support of Caroline Lucas and a number of LibDem backbenchers.

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/96

Thank you in anticipation of your support.

Depends on whether you mean net jobs or gross. If the private sector is losing jobs as well as creating them, then an increased total of 350,000 jobs suggests that 600,000 have been created and 250,000 lost. Is this what you mean, or is it 350,000 created and none lost?

9. Chaise Guevara

@ 8 JC

Well, if we’re not counting jobs lost then it seems pretty disingenuous. Like claiming you won £100 at the casino but failing to mention that you lost £250.

Well, in that case Cameron’s probably right then. Jobs are being lost continually in the private sector as a result of companies changing direction, losing business and going bust. Definitely looking up then with more that twice as many jobs being created as being lost.

What I want to see is a breakdown of jobs lost and jobs created as far as full-time and part-time jobs goes. My experience tells me that poorly paid part-time jobs are gradually replacing full-time well-paid jobs which, obviously, is a very bad thing for the downwardly mobile people concerned in particular and for the economy generally because of the loss of spending power as far as the armies of part-time workers are concerned.

12. Glen Shakespeare

How the hell can the double dip be lumbered on GB when they took over an economy in growth? The government’s economic policy has proved disastrous for the country and now even right wing think tanks are calling for a Plan B. So not only are we back to the economic prospects of the mid 90′s but also the sleaze is back with it. No surprises though. Anybody that believed Cameron’s bile pre-election is very easily taken in by a smooth talker and obvious liar. Just a shame they infiltrated the BBC and managed to get them campaigning for them throughout the election campaign and ever since. They are a failed party with filed policies and absolutely no interest in the backbone of this country. eg: The working class.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Peter Clutton

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/54MwVkSx via @libcon

  2. Simon Bowkett

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  3. John Abell

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  4. Stephen Brown

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  11. Brian Tomkinson

    Why David Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created by this govt is plainly wrong http://t.co/itaBQFvf by @richardexell

  12. Tweet4Labour

    Careful look at figures shows govt is wrong and they've slashed more public sector jobs than created in private sector http://t.co/QqA5r2C6

  13. Duncan Weldon

    Why David Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created by this govt is plainly wrong http://t.co/itaBQFvf by @richardexell

  14. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong http://t.co/Ccm1mSE0

  15. Helen M McLean

    Careful look at figures shows govt is wrong and they've slashed more public sector jobs than created in private sector http://t.co/QqA5r2C6

  16. Helen

    Why David Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created by this govt is plainly wrong http://t.co/itaBQFvf by @richardexell

  17. Helen

    Why David Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created by this govt is plainly wrong http://t.co/itaBQFvf by @richardexell

  18. les.a

    Why David Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created by this govt is plainly wrong http://t.co/itaBQFvf by @richardexell

  19. Andrew Burgess

    Why Cameron's claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong http://t.co/B3byEDeF

  20. Paul Cotterill

  21. Paul Cotterill

  22. Alan Fry

    Why David Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created by this govt is plainly wrong http://t.co/itaBQFvf by @richardexell

  23. Andy Birss

    David Cameron continues to lie about job statistics http://t.co/E6OohWf5 Will his lackey Clegg back him up on this? #ConDemsOut

  24. Alex Braithwaite

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/kKaPhLL3 via @libcon

  25. seuss [ sue]

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/kKaPhLL3 via @libcon

  26. BevR

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/54MwVkSx via @libcon

  27. Kyron Hodgetts

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/54MwVkSx via @libcon

  28. Andrew Spooner

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/54MwVkSx via @libcon

  29. Abiyomi Kofi

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bsghW4F1

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  31. TheCreativeCrip

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bsghW4F1

  32. Aaron

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bsghW4F1

  33. Carole

    Why Cameron’s claim of 600,000 jobs created is plainly wrong | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bsghW4F1

  34. Simon HB

    Is Nick Clegg really claiming to have created millions of new jobs? Even Dave only claimed 600,000, and that was bilge http://t.co/HiXfxizS





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