UK registered unemployment from April to June 2015 was at 1.85 million, up 25,000 from the previous quarter while the ONS figures showed that there were 31.03 million people in work, down by 63,000 compared with the January to March period!
So much for the Tory economic miracle! The jobless total had also risen in the three months to May, and it is the first time in two years that there have been two consecutive rises. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also showed that earnings growth is slowing.
Earnings including bonuses rose 2.4% from a year ago, compared with 3.2% growth in the March to May period. Excluding bonuses, pay was up 2.8% in the April to June period, unchanged from the previous figure.
Youth unemployment is also rising. It is now back on 16% and heading towards the one million mark.
The weaker-than-expected figure for pay pushed the price of the pound down. Further pay growth had been expected to give the Bank of England the courage to raise interest rates with all of its consequences for mortgage rates and home repossessions, as well as reduced bank lending and bankruptcies.
Now a rate rise is postponed! In fact, the ONS figures showed that just 22.76 million people were in full-time work with the number of part-time workers at a huge 8.27 million. The unemployment rate in the UK was highest in the North East (8.1%) of England and lowest in the South West (4.4%).
Commenting on the latest UK labour market statistics, David Kern, Chief Economist of the British Chambers of Commerce, issued a warning against rate rises: ‘Overall, these figures are a timely reminder that the UK recovery is still in need of care and attention and we cannot take any unnecessary risks.
‘With average earnings growth relatively stable and inflationary pressures subdued, it is clear that what British businesses need is a period of stability without any threat of interest rate increases for the time being.’
The Unite union commented that, ‘The fragile nature of the so-called economic recovery, particularly outside London and the south east, has been highlighted by the latest rise in unemployment.’ Its leader Len McCluskey grandly declared: ‘For the first time in two years there have been two consecutive monthly rises in the jobless figures. This is the first crack in the edifice of post-election Tory economic triumphalism …
‘Fragility and insecurity in the jobs market are the hallmarks of George Osborne’s economic programme. There is a real fear that the jobs market is levelling off with little in the way of ideas on the creation of decent jobs coming from this government. We need ministers to assist with solutions to tackle this continuing climate of insecurity. This will not be achieved by making working lives tougher with the brutal removal of tax credits for low earners.’
While McCluskey is looking for Tory ministers to tackle insecurity, the TUC was keeping mum, with no comment on its website yesterday afternoon. In fact, the British ‘economic recovery’ was and is a mirage.
Ahead in the autumn is a period when the Tories will be seeking to resolve this crisis by driving up the productivity of the working class. This is to be done by a combination of bringing in draconian anti-union laws to chain up the trade unions, while the bosses crack the whip, and by massive austerity cuts to government departments to release hundreds of thousands of workers onto the labour market for super-exploitation.
The Tories are waging a class war. Meanwhile, the TUC is planning a march on the Tory party conference on October 4, no doubt with a begging bowl in their hands. The TUC will get nothing from the Tories. This march is a huge diversion.
The big conference is the TUC’s in Brighton on September 13. Huge masses of workers must march on it and demand that the TUC calls a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government. The General Council must be made to either call a general strike or resign and make way for those who will!