The Guardian is reporting this morning that “there were 32,300 fewer people receiving jobseeker’s allowance in February than in the previous month [...] The wider Labour Force survey measure, which also includes people out of work who are not claiming benefits, also fell, by 33,000 in the three months to January to 2.45 million, the biggest drop since July 2007.”
So far, so good.
However, further down in the same article, it is pointed out that “employment is down 54,000 to 28.86 million, the lowest level since 2006. A record 8.16 million people are now classed as economically inactive, which includes students, people on long-term sick leave and those who have given up looking for a job.”
So this really is not good news. Unemployment is down because people are not looking for jobs, not because more people are working.
It would have been useful to see figures for underemployment, too – other surveys have recently pointed out that more and more people are forced into part-time jobs.
What it looks like is that the regular jobs are disappearing. Some people get part-time jobs instead, but others move back to their home country, retrain (which means they’re counted as students), take early retirement, or just give up.