Home > Terrible Tories > The Tories’ post-recession record on unemployment: not a pretty graph

The Tories’ post-recession record on unemployment: not a pretty graph

I’m sure Giles at Freethinking Economist will be delighted to know that I’ve just been listening to LibDem MP Chris Huhne talking sense on the radio about the Tories’ post-recession record, in light of the news yesterday.

If I get a chance later I’ll transcribe a bit of what he said from the clever computer widget thing,  but in the meantime here it is a nutshell with some graphs from the Office for National Statistics.

Here’s the ONS graph showing three different recessions:

And here’s the ONS graph showing unemployment rates over the same time elapses:

Taken together these show that under the Tories in the 1980s unemployment went on rising for a further 4 and a half years AFTER the end of recession (in fact Chris Huhne said it rose for six years, so he may be using different data, but the point is the same).

This time around, the unemployment rate has already started to fall, though of course it may rise again (and the growth of part-time employment has also helped.

But why did this continued rise happen under the Tories? 

Well, Chris Huhne suggests that it’s because the Tories adapted exactly the same tactics as they’re proposing to adopt this time around if they win the election. 

I’m inclined to agree with a LibDem on this occasion, despite his party’s rhetorical schizophrenia on the general issue of ‘fiscal consolidation’/’locking in growth’ and all those other very new terms which don’t mention people at all.

The Tory MP on the radio show (I missed his name) refused to talk of unemployment, but kept banging on about ‘credibility with international finance’.  No change there then.

Categories: Terrible Tories
  1. Barney Stannard
    January 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    You may well be right about the Tories policies. But no one really knows.

    On the soveriegn debt issue, have you seen that the head of the world’s largest (or one thereof) bond trader, Pimco, has labelled British gilts as ‘sitting on nitroglycerine’ and said he’s pulled out. There are lots of people now talking about a rush from gilts as soon as the plug is pulled on QE.

  2. paulinlancs
    January 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Barney: No, I’d not seen this. Interesting. it’s hard to say what the motives are, but it’s an interestingly different take from Giles’ (his new post) AND from what Huhne said on the radio about the markets actually being more interested in long term growth than short term fiscal balance (though he did so as a political swipe at the Tory opponent. I must transcribe it as promised. I did ask Giles for his view on this and he said some interestig stuff about PIMCO’s position relative say to a pension fund, though I cant; find it right now. i remember this striking a chord cos Mandelson referred in his recent speech specifically to the role of pension funds in the economic masterplan he was trying to set out – it was unclear though what he meant.

    Thanks for jogging my memory on this stuff, which I’d kind of drifted away from. i feel a post critiqued-by-you coming on, though I’m also aware I owe you a substantial post on sovereign debt default and your this is surely madness’ view (I’ve got one in note form around comparing Iceland with Democratic Republic of Congo to draw out some of my logics, which seeks to build on Dave’s Iceland post). Never seems to be enough time, mind.

  3. Barney Stannard
    January 29, 2010 at 12:14 am

    There never is. I sympathise.

    Re the guy at PIMCO’s motives, I have no idea, depends what kind of guy he is etc, but I guess they are pretty honest.

    Re the bond market; Huhne was a pretty talented bond trader, but I think if we’re honest no one can be certain what the bond market will do in the coming year or so. QE is a new phenomenon and we simply cannot be certain what will happen when it ends.

    I think if we’re honest we should all admit that to varying degrees we are flying blind in this. We don’t know what the effect of cutting government expenditure will be on demand, and we don’t know how the bond markets will play out. We can make (do differing degrees) educated guesses, but no one really knows, because this particular situation hasn’t occured before.

    So let us hope that whoever ends up in power guesses right.

  4. Brian Wilkinson
    May 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Thank god at last something to repudiate this often repeated bullshit. I lived through the eighties and was unemplyed for over a year during it so Im tired of hearing how this is comparable. You are now saved in favourites cheers

  1. January 28, 2010 at 8:05 am
  2. January 31, 2010 at 10:33 am
  3. February 18, 2010 at 9:55 am
  4. March 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm
  5. June 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm

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