"Lowest unemployment in 30 years"


The official UK unemployment count fell below one million (950,300) in August 2001 – the "lowest since 1975". The method used to count the unemployed was changed over 30 times by the previous (Conservative) government – each change was designed to give a lower count (by not counting certain categories of jobless people).

Prior to being elected in 1997, New Labour strongly objected to the official count, claiming that the real unemployment count was much higher (they claimed 1 in 5 households were jobless). But now New Labour seem happy to go along with the misleading official "claimant count" figure*, while spending billions of pounds on schemes (such as the New Deal) which artificially lower the unemployed count.

[*The official jobless figure counts only those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. This count of claimants gives the lowest measure of unemployment, and is widely mistrusted. In 1995, the Royal Statistical Society called for a new monthly count to be derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which provides an unemployment count based on internationally agreed definitions of what constitutes an unemployed jobseeker. A report by the Church of England, Unemployment and the Future of Work, endorsed a figure of 4.5 million unemployed in the UK in 1996].