Thursday, May 17, 2012

55% of the 3.5 million jobs created in the last 20 years were part time posts.

We in the UK have added 3.5 million jobs to our economy in the last 20 years. In total, we've added 1.9 million part time positions, and 1.6 million full time jobs. This means that 55% of the jobs created in the last 20 years were actually part time posts. Since 1979, we have added less than 4 million jobs to the UK economy but we have no way of knowing the status (FT/PT) of the jobs created between 1979 and 1992 because we did not record the hours. Crucially, even if every single job created between 1979-1992 was a full time position (unlikely I know) then it would make no difference to the fact that the majority of the jobs created under neo-liberalism (1979-present) were actually part time positions. Do not take my word for any of this. Go and peek at the Office of National Statistics where you can explore the data for yourselves (Zip file here).

The reasons for this are very clear. Emphasis on a service sector and particular almost slavish loyalty to the financial sector has created a society where labour intensive work is deemed unprofitable. The costs of employing humans is deemed as ideally avoidable. It is why we have begun typing NHS patients letters in India. It is why we will soon be outsourcing our old NHS Direct jobs to India. Why pay UK citizens when Indians will do it for cheaper? In the fields of manufacturing and energy supply we shut down or privatised our old staple industries such as coal and steel that employed millions. Today clean coal makes it possible to open back up many of these pits but we shirk that choice. We have even outsourced our gas boiler production to Turkey despite the fact that 20 million UK households depend on gas boilers. We could change all of this in the morning if we got back to labour intensive work such as house building, green energy, clean coal/CCS and much more. 

A good piece on the importance of job creation as an issue on the doorstep comes from North East Labour MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods (here).

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