|Howcome they only take two thirds now then?|
Luckily for the time-pressed media blogger about town, a nice regular tabloid bunch of crap has splatted out of the Mail and the Express recently.
Apparently, foreigners have taken two thirds of new jobs. Except they haven't, just like they hadn't taken ALL new jobs back in 2007 when the Express did one of these stories. Or the 85% the Mail said they swiped in 2008. Or 92%/97% according to the Express last year (depending on whether you looked at the website or shouty front page). Or any other crazy percentage of new jobs foreigners are suppposed to have taken at any time.
Minority thought has covered both the new stories in 'Daily Mail gets it wrong over jobs for foreigners' and 'Express also gets it wrong over jobs for foreigners'.
I wrote a guide to this sort of thing a couple of years ago in 'Foreign worker scare stories - a survival guide', which could easily cover the new stories too. A few months later, I was so bored with covering these things again and again that I wrote 'Aaargh! A foreign worker scare story! You're on your own now.'
Here's the short version:
1) We're talking about how much the number of non-UK born people in work has risen by compared to how much the total number of people in work has risen by, not the number of new jobs they've taken. It could be that every swanky new job created since the papers' arbitrarily chosen start date has been taken by UK born people, while those born outside the UK have all taken pre-existing jobs. It could also be that there are thousands of new jobs with no-one in them.
2) We're talking about the number of people not born in the UK, which is not the same as 'foreigners', plus a lot of these people are not what most people would think of as a 'migrant'. A large percentage of the people the papers are calling 'foreign' are people who arrived in the UK as children, people who have been in the UK for at least 10 years, people born to UK citizen parents overseas (eg in the British services) and various other UK citizens.
So, by 'jobs' we don't mean jobs, and by 'foreign' we don't mean foreign. There's more to this (like the UK born working age population shrinking), but the links at the bottom will help if you're interested.
In the new story, Steve Doughty has compared the figures from July-September 2010 with the ones from March-June, using the same crappy calculation as every other foreign worker scare story ever. It's too short a time frame to prove anything even if his claims about his figures were true, which they're not. If he'd compared April-June with January-March he'd have found that there were no new jobs in Britain because the total number of people in work, including UK-born and non UK-born had fallen.
When the Express pulled this trick in its ridiculous 'ALL New Jobs' story, the article actually showed that 'foreigners' took more new jobs than actually existed. That's how reliable this technique is for showing how many foreigners have taken new jobs. It can throw up a result so high it's actually impossible.
Nice to see nothing changes.
When there's no more room in Hell, the immigration scare story will walk the earth
Foreign worker scare stories - a survival guide
Aaargh! A foreign worker scare story! You're on your own now