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How National Unemployment Can Sneak Up

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A lot of us on these forums sort of predict black mondays, or catastrophic layoffs happening over a weekend. But long term decline can happen while being almost invisible, unless you are carefully observing or looking at trends in statistics.

My prediction is over the next decade 5 million jobs will disappear in Britain. Or 20% of the jobs in the country. Sounds catastrophic, but over the span of a year, that works out to just 2% of the jobs. And a year is quite a long time while you are living it. Even in my doomsday scenario of 20% of the jobs disappearing if you are in work now, there is an 80% chance you will be in work 10 years from now.

So imagine 100 people, in my scenario 2 of them will become long term unemployed over the next year. For 1 of them that might mean taking an early retirement at a much lower income than they were hoping to retire on. For the 2nd it might be a young person for whom a job never opens up. Maybe a person retires from BT with full pension, and BT decides not to replace the retiree. The young person never even gets downsized, they just never get started.

And it can be even less visible than those. For example think of the growth of people in adult schooling. Or what about lots of people with home businesses that actually only bring in a few hundred pounds a month. They are effectively unemployed even though by outward appearance you don't notice it.

Then there is the growth in disabled, we added something like 1 million on long term disabled over the last decade. Did the population really become that much more unhealthy.. or are people realizing they cannot get a decent job and they do have nagging health problems, so are signing on for long term benefits?

As this goes on for a couple decades you wake up in a different world where half the population is out of work. But there never really is a day where it shifts, its just gradual and subtle. Even when half the population is unemployed it won't seem like that. You will look around and see lots of people working, lots of people with successful businesses.. and lots of people aspiring in schools and startup businesses.

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Then there is the growth in disabled, we added something like 1 million on long term disabled over the last decade. Did the population really become that much more unhealthy.. or are people realizing they cannot get a decent job and they do have nagging health problems, so are signing on for long term benefits?

Thats not really the jib of it, in my own small circle there are 4 people who are technically disabled from accidents or misfortune and yet still continue to work, when it gets cold you can see their faces wince in pain. They can all tolerate it today but as time goes on you see they have trouble hiding it as you see them wince more often or the way they move slowly, then its time to call quits.

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A lot of us on these forums sort of predict black mondays, or catastrophic layoffs happening over a weekend. But long term decline can happen while being almost invisible, unless you are carefully observing or looking at trends in statistics.

My prediction is over the next decade 5 million jobs will disappear in Britain. Or 20% of the jobs in the country. Sounds catastrophic, but over the span of a year, that works out to just 2% of the jobs. And a year is quite a long time while you are living it. Even in my doomsday scenario of 20% of the jobs disappearing if you are in work now, there is an 80% chance you will be in work 10 years from now.

So imagine 100 people, in my scenario 2 of them will become long term unemployed over the next year. For 1 of them that might mean taking an early retirement at a much lower income than they were hoping to retire on. For the 2nd it might be a young person for whom a job never opens up. Maybe a person retires from BT with full pension, and BT decides not to replace the retiree. The young person never even gets downsized, they just never get started.

And it can be even less visible than those. For example think of the growth of people in adult schooling. Or what about lots of people with home businesses that actually only bring in a few hundred pounds a month. They are effectively unemployed even though by outward appearance you don't notice it.

Then there is the growth in disabled, we added something like 1 million on long term disabled over the last decade. Did the population really become that much more unhealthy.. or are people realizing they cannot get a decent job and they do have nagging health problems, so are signing on for long term benefits?

As this goes on for a couple decades you wake up in a different world where half the population is out of work. But there never really is a day where it shifts, its just gradual and subtle. Even when half the population is unemployed it won't seem like that. You will look around and see lots of people working, lots of people with successful businesses.. and lots of people aspiring in schools and startup businesses.

Your scenario sounds feasible. What we're really seeing are the longer term affects of globalisation (disguised as a banking crisis and recession). The government won't be able to standby while such changes occur - one day they are going to have to accept the fact we need to produce more of what we consume, and try to genuinely rebalance the economy - and if that means some forms of protectionism then so be it. People are resourceful and will always find ways to make a living, it's just that they will be far fewer people employed by large and medium sized businesses, and far more self-employed. Personally I think the long term prospects for the commercial property market are bleak - there just won't be the demand for so much office space.

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Or what about lots of people with home businesses that actually only bring in a few hundred pounds a month. They are effectively unemployed even though by outward appearance you don't notice it.

Or rather they are underemployed. As are the 1.07 million people who work part-time despite wanting to work full-time - and that's the figure up to May 2010. Any bets on which way that figure is going now and will go in future?

Underemployment as well as full-on unemployment. It all adds to the drip-drip-drip reduction in employment.

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Or rather they are underemployed. As are the 1.07 million people who work part-time despite wanting to work full-time - and that's the figure up to May 2010. Any bets on which way that figure is going now and will go in future?

Underemployment as well as full-on unemployment. It all adds to the drip-drip-drip reduction in employment.

My observation tells me globilisation is going to crush the middle class and we're looking at a India type

economy, unless someone puts the brakes on.

Personally the trading bloc idea seems a good start.

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Your scenario sounds feasible. What we're really seeing are the longer term affects of globalisation (disguised as a banking crisis and recession). The government won't be able to standby while such changes occur - one day they are going to have to accept the fact we need to produce more of what we consume, and try to genuinely rebalance the economy - and if that means some forms of protectionism then so be it. People are resourceful and will always find ways to make a living, it's just that they will be far fewer people employed by large and medium sized businesses, and far more self-employed. Personally I think the long term prospects for the commercial property market are bleak - there just won't be the demand for so much office space.

I am also bearish on office space. If you look back to the 60's and 70's the big corporations needed vast numbers of clerks to manage the information. The paper based information. They basically had to have 30 story buildings with cubicle after cubicle of people updating information and making minor decisions. But today some computer servers have replaced most of that. Companies are gradually getting rid of white colar staff. The most competitive industries they have already gotten rid of them.

The only reason imo office space did well in the last decade was the growth of government non-jobs. Of course it is possible that will continue, and then I would be wrong that office space is a bad bet.

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I am also bearish on office space. If you look back to the 60's and 70's the big corporations needed vast numbers of clerks to manage the information. The paper based information. They basically had to have 30 story buildings with cubicle after cubicle of people updating information and making minor decisions. But today some computer servers have replaced most of that. Companies are gradually getting rid of white colar staff. The most competitive industries they have already gotten rid of them.

The only reason imo office space did well in the last decade was the growth of government non-jobs. Of course it is possible that will continue, and then I would be wrong that office space is a bad bet.

You're right, Bruntwood offices in the city centre are really empty, visiting solicitors a few weeks ago they had the whole building to themselves.

I can attest for lack of clerks, it is because they push these tasks onto the general staff, Hallidays for instance used to have secretaries to type letters they replaced 6 of them with a mail merge program.

When a custom letter was needed they pulled a accounts team member out to do it in addition to their normal duties.

When tax software became good the tax department was canned, and they pushed the tax jobs onto the general accounts staff too, when they were stuck they phoned an outside consultant it was cheaper than tax dept salaries.

Then outsourcing took off, so they fired 90% of the accounts staff and used indians who work for 30p an hour.

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My observation tells me globilisation is going to crush the middle class and we're looking at a India type

economy, unless someone puts the brakes on.

Personally the trading bloc idea seems a good start.

What do you mean going to?

It already has, it is just many haven't realised it yet and have filled the gap with credit.

Low / middle manufacturing and engineering is gone.

China is starting to make moves towards high end and quality which will kill top end manufacturing.

Low/middle/high office jobs (law/accountancy/architechture/audit) is leaving in a raging torrent.

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I've said this before. The only game left in town is to hoard the remaining land, food, energy and water. Don't believe the hype in "new economies" in the west.

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I've said this before. The only game left in town is to hoard the remaining land, food, energy and water. Don't believe the hype in "new economies" in the west.

Aren't UK energy and water firms foriegn owned? Added to the fact much food is imported too.

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Aren't UK energy and water firms foriegn owned? Added to the fact much food is imported too.

It is over blown consistently. About 60% of the food consumed in the UK is produced here (only needing 535,000 workers), and in 2005 £9.7bn worth of food and drink were exported.

I know it isn't like for like, you can't live on Britvic 55, Aberdeen angus steak and Kendle mint cake forever, but we could be self-sufficeient in food if we switched to production for consumption only .

Edited by deflation

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  • 200 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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