Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Have New Unemployment Figures Put Labour In Check?

New figures out today show the unemployment rate is now 5.7% this is the lowest levels of unemployment since 2008.  There was more pleasant reading for the government as wages have also risen by 1.7% (2.1% including bonuses), taking into account the rate of inflation in January (0.3%) this is a real wage rise of 1.4%.  This looks like it may take the edge off Labours cost of living crisis argument but that really depends on if people are truly feeling the economic recovery.

There are obvious reasons for thinking these new statistics are bad for Labour, its shows the government’s economic plan is working. It furthers the question do you really want to risk the recovery under Labour?  But it would be unrealistic to say that Labour are big losers from this news, their economic plan does not look nearly as bad in a growing economy in fact some parts of it look rather plausible such as more investment in health and education.   Also these figures don’t paint the whole picture, yes wages are growing now but they have been either stagnant or falling for the past 5 years, and Labour has not failed to pick up on this.  Labours Shadow Employment minister has pointed out that over the past 5 years the average person has been worse off by £1,600 a year.

It is to early to say what effect these latest figures will have on peoples voting intentions.  Some may see the figures as a sign that the government’s economic policies are paying off and that we should stick with them.  But many people will say that this is too little, although our economy is growing at the fastest rate in the EU many people have not felt the recovery and they are unlikely to vote Conservative. How these figures effect the election is down to how the parties will spin these statistics, just because is seems like good news for the government does not mean that it has to be bad news for Labour.

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