Woo hoo a graph! A shit looking one to be sure, but still it tells a story even if it’s not one with an especially happy ending.
The background here is that unemployment rose sharply throughout 2008 before stabilising at the beginning of 2009 where it has largely remained since. Positively, the employment rate has recently ticked up signalling the worst of the credit crunch is behind us, which is all fine and rather dandy until you look at the actual composition of the unemployed population in a shit graph like the one what I’ve done here. There what you see is that while the unemployment rate may have plateaued, within this long-term unemployment (defined as greater than 12 months), has continued to increase relative to the total. To put it another way from 2008 Q2 to 2010 Q2 the number of people unemployed for over 2 years increased by 63% while the number unemployed for 12 months plus increase by 104% which is an even more fucking horrendous number.
To quote an Office for National Statistics review of employment statistics long-term unemployment is more likely among older men, those with fewer qualifications and the disabled. A different way of putting this is that the growing number of poor sods signing on for the 53rd or more time this fortnight have endured and are enduring an increasingly nightmare uphill struggle when it comes to getting a job. Sure, things are getting better, but why exactly would an employer take on an unskilled, disabled, middle-aged bod who hasn’t got out of bed before 8am for 2 years when there’s some able-bodied graduate just come to the end of a temporary contract and desperate for beer tokens knocking at his door? The answer is he won’t and we’ll see a permanent (over the medium-term i.e. 5 years) increase in the number of long-term unemployed.
At a high falutin economic policy level, the resultant increase in “structural unemployment” will probably see the NAIRU revised upwards in due course and nuanced references to why unemployment in excess of say 6% can be compatible with supply-side constraints and in no way a reason not raise interest rates. It’ll also see some Daily Mail led splenetics about dole scroungers and benefit fraud being trotted out every time government benefit spending figures get published.
Alternatively, given the human misery involved, I’d like to see the next few Office for National Statistics labour market statistics bulletins printed out and publically rammed down the throats of the few dozen or so vile British financial cunts who contributed to and profited from the credit crunch; it’s not as if it wouldn’t be a piece of piss to start naming names, especially given ignorance is rarely an acceptable excuse.