Monday, 25 June 2012

Unemployment down except in Queensbridge: Pipe fears Boris betrayal

This is a brief look at how unemployment and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claims have fallen again in Hackney and whether the economics suggest that this is likely to continue. 

I'm afraid there are a lot of charts here. If you want a closer look, click on them and they should expand. The data comes from the government's labour market statistics site Nomis.

The employment prospects for young people are a major concern. The chart above shows the number of 16-24 year-olds claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) in each ward in Hackney and how that has changed over time. 

The number of young people claiming JSA appears to have fallen in most wards since the beginning of the year. 

The chart below shows what has happened to young people in each ward over the last three months. The only wards that have seen an increase in 18-24 year-old JSA claimants in that period are Springfield and Clissold. However these figures would probably be more useful if seen as proportions of the working population in each ward which I haven't done.

The proportion of Hackney's total working population claiming JSA has fallen for the third month in a row. All wards except Queensbridge have seen numbers of claimants fall.

As the chart below shows, Hackney's claimant count is falling  in line with the rest of London and the UK . Although some news reports said JSA claimant counts were rising while unemployment was falling (BBC) they were using GB figures not UK ones. If  Northern Ireland is excluded (which for some reason Nomis does) the JSA claimant counts fell in the UK.

The problem is that the jobs data look too good to be true based on the UK's economic performance. The country has fallen into a recession for the second time since the financial crisis began in 2007.

The question is if the UK economy is shrinking, how can more people be working? David Smith had a look at this problem in the Sunday Times (this is his blog which gets you around the pay wall!)

At the same time Hackney has an economy of its own. In a letter to the FT today (June 25) Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe outlined his concerns about the Olympics legacy.

The FT had reported that Boris Johnson's advisers had been weighing-up the costs of selling or demolishing the Olympic International Broadcast Centre .  

In his letter to the FT Jules Pipe addressed this suggestion saying: "We are an area of rapid economic growth, where technology and creative digital sectors are thriving and creating highly skilled jobs. East London is fast becoming the UK’s Silicon Valley. We are forging international business partnerships and investors from all over the world will be coming to Hackney during the Games.

"Our creative small and medium-sized enterprise sector needs somewhere to expand and grow. The Olympic press and broadcast centres can provide that opportunity – and this is a vision that has been endorsed by the prime minister and by UK Trade  Investment. 

"Whatever happens to the International Broadcast Centre building, we need a commitment now from the mayor of London to delivering the amount of employment space that was promised. What we do not need is retail space and housing that, using the government's affordability criteria, is well out of the reach of most Hackney people. A failure to realise the potential of this site will be a betrayal of the promises in the 2005 bid, and more importantly, a betrayal of the businesses and residents of east London."

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