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John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.

"The Independent's must-read man" - Daniel Finkelstein

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Daily Mail and innumeracy

Posted by John Rentoul
  • Thursday, 15 October 2009 at 01:34 pm
I do blog about subjects other than the best Labour prime minister. Well one other subject anyway, namely how wrong the Daily Mail is. Today, in its ideological bias it makes a statistical howler. It reports:

Nearly a million jobs in private industry and commerce have been lost in just 15 months, the latest unemployment figures showed yesterday. But the full impact of the recession has been shrugged off in the public sector, which has seen a boom of over 300,000 in recruitment of bureaucrats.

That "recruitment of bureaucrats" consists mostly of the nationalisation of Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland a year ago, which added 230,000 to public sector employment figures from June this year. Thus the "nearly a million jobs" lost in the private sector should read "nearly three-quarters of a million jobs".

A more balanced view is offered by taking the long view, over the whole of the New Labour period since 1997. I haven't updated the figures, but last month public sector employment was up 865,000 over 12 years, while private sector employment was up nearly twice as much, 1,516,000 (having fallen back from peak increase in Q2 2008 of 2,405,000).

The Daily Mail might like to look up these sources: 1 (pdf), 2 (pdf), 3, 4 and 5.



dunque123 wrote:
Thursday, 15 October 2009 at 03:59 pm (UTC)
is an interesting number. All teachers, doctors and police I assume, no wastage in there I am sure
maas101 wrote:
Thursday, 15 October 2009 at 08:10 pm (UTC)
As during that period the population has increased by 10 million an extra 1.5 million private sector jobs doesn't seem so impressive.

As a percentage the private sector has shrunk since 1997.


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