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Sniffing Out The Real Information At The Bbc

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What do the ONS stats actually measure?

That would be interesting. That might allow a glimpse of whether the figure is a realistic measure of those unemployed.

I agree with Bubb. This figure could include people 'economically inactive' because they have no need to work. Some may just use their big house shaped cash machines. :lol:

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"The ONS figures also revealed that the number of people classed as "economically inactive" rose to its highest level since records began in 1971."

Need I say more?


DB, I dont have in depth analysis of the breakdown of the "inactive" sector of the population, but I suggest that some of it is composed of 3 main areas:

1) True "people seeking work" unemployment rises.

2) More people go long term sick/seek out disability status & benefit due to worsening collective mood/outlook of the population during hard times

3) Government schemes to put out of work people into training schemes rather than appear on the unemployed lists.

At the end of the day it is going to be the UK economy that dictates a house price crash. The "economically inactive" measure probably gives a better measure than ONS unemployment figures for this.


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Had a look at the ONS website and their 'press release'.

I suppose a better way of measuring unemployment is to look solely at the increase in those claiming benefits. People who are made unemployed and cannot (due to having funds) or do not need to (due to having funds) claim aren't really too much of a worry as they may be employed again before they turn up as claimants.

If you only look at the increase/decrease in unemployment benefits claimants then you probably have a more realistic picture of where employment is going. Assuming that if someone dosen't find work within a resonable period of time that they'll eventually show up in the stats too. Only issue with this is guessing the level of benefit fraud that contributes to the figures. I would expect benefit fraud to increase as people get poorer... as seems to be happening now.

ONS says:

  • Claimant count up 7200 in December 05
  • Claimant count has increased for 11 consecutive months
  • Claimant count has increased 95300 in the last 11 months

I suppose the flipside is the number of jobs available for those seeking work. This seems to be decreasing while the number of claimants is increasing.... possibly leading to longer term unemployment for some claimants.

I wouldn't want to be taking one of those 606500 available McJobs if I had been laid off from my job though :o

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What about retirees, divorcees...

and others who are now able to "live off housing wealth" ?

- thanks to strategic downsizing and MEW-ing

i believe there are a huge number of people in this unrecognised category

Agreed, it was only after clicking the "add reply" button that the retirees element occurred to me.

Whilst this is a relevant component we need to remove it from our short/medium term models. The worker/pensioner ratio will undoubtly cause a huge probelm for developed countries, esp UK and Germany, but that will kick in over the next 15- 40 years.

We want to look at the 1-5 year cycle. I dont think that the number of people retiring vs those youngsters coming into employment age over the last 12 months can have skewed the "economically inactive" figure by THAT much.


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Try the following link to find out about local employment/JSA claimants in your area... interesting stuff.


The graph above shows a marked fall over the last 10 years in JSA claimants in my local authority area. Is this due to more people being employed or is this down to an increase in sickness/disability claimants??

Would be interesting to see a local authority area data set for Disability/sickness benefits too.


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"I dont think that the number of people retiring vs those youngsters coming into employment age over the last 12 months can have skewed the "economically inactive" figure by THAT much."


I think that there are a HUGE number of people living off housing wealth in one way or another.

And some of them are able to escape from normal employment by doing so

OK, but this kind of goes back to my origianl point (which was implied by my "need I say more" statement, that those who are economically inactive are not contributing to the GDP or tax income tax receipts. This will make the strain on the govt's books far worse than the pure unemployment figures would suggest.

As an ancdote to the phenominen you bring up, I have a friend who in 2002 bought a 2 bed detached house in a nice quaint villiage in a "good" part of Essex. He was lucky and got it from an old lady who needed to sell to go into a home. Paid £150k. By end 2004 he was telling us (much to our anoyance) that it was now worth £300k. He was going to extend with 2 more bedrooms (for £25k) and it would then be worth £400k. He jacked in his job nov 2004 and has since been to Oz to learn to sail and is now spending his second season in the French Alps boarding/skiing.

He has not yet done his extension and has now taken a payment holiday for 6 months due to cashflow issues. He has also sold his car and bought a cheap runabout.

I have told him that he may be caught with his trousers down if when he comes to try to sell (which will not be for another 6 months - and may take 1 year+). He still instists that at age 29 he has now retired.

The feelgood factor for him was huge during the boom. He was "making" more on his house than we were grossing on our salaries.

He was lucky with his timing, but believes the party will go on forever.'


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Not only that there are people living off of housing wealth, but also that many of the current 50+ generation have the enviable position of being able to retire early.

My parents are both retired, and they retired at 51. Would they be classed as economically inactive as they no longer work but are of working age?

I still think it makes far more sense to look at the changing rates of JSA claimants and possibly sickness/disability claimants.

The economically inactive category includes too many possibilities that are not quantified ot be meaningful... you don't think the ONS do this on purpose do you? :lol:

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I'm astonished at the naivety that gets people thinking they can retire on say £300,000 of equity at 50 odd.

The sad thing is that he was on a good jobbers rate when he jacked it in. If he'd have got his head down and saved hard rather than bumming around, he could now easily be one year away from paying off the mortgage. One further year of hard work could have seen him with his extension paid off as well. That would have meant a fully piad off, very nice 4 bed detached house at the age of about 32. The his options for part time working plus a whole lot more leisure would have been set for life.

The funny thing is that 2 years ago he wouldnt come for a long weekend's boarding with the lads cos "taking 2 days off work costs too much money". Now he's gone to the other extreme.

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  • 315 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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