22 November 2006

Job Losses

This is something that always irritates me:

Minister to fight for Alcoa jobs

Talks to save 298 jobs at the Alcoa aluminium plant in Swansea are under way following an announcement that the plant is to close in March.

298 jobs in 4 months time.

According to national STaTiSTiCS (sic) (and sick), 56,000 extra people entered employment over the last quarter.

Therefore, about 1000 new jobs were created per working day.

Also, that's net of job losses. I don't have a source for how many job losses there were per day over the quarter - all I can say is that there were a thousand more jobs created than were lost, per day on average.

And a government minister is spending effort on trying to do something about 298 of them. On current trends 70,000 new net jobs will be created between now and the time these 298 are laid off - is there nothing that could be done that might make that 70,500, swamping the effect of this one event? Some regulation that could be removed that might have that <1% effect on rate of job creation, perhaps? Some duty that could be reduced or removed?

The false newsworthiness of statistically insignificant "job loss events" compared to much larger, but dispersed, job losses and creation, is one of the major drivers of bad "trade and industry" policy. The media never put them into any kind of perspective.

Correction: Andrew Davies is in fact a minister in the Welsh Assembly Government, not the UK government. Therefore my use of UK-wide statistics to demonstrate that he should treat it as insignificant is not really appropriate. However, looking at page 35 of this document (pdf), the figure for Wales is in fact 17,000 extra jobs over the last quarter (a surprising 30% of the UK aggregate). So the 298 losses are still only one day's worth of new net job creation in Wales, and my argument holds up pretty well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You don't really need me to say this do you?

Those 298 jobs could mean the difference between being re-elected and having to get a real job.