Jobs data is not fit for purpose - Unemployment falls again

THERE is an illustrative irony that, on the day the best job figures in nearly a decade were announced, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was, apparently, preparing to oppose those who would end his leadership. 

He, after all, led us out of a very dark place and may resent the ingratitude a putsch would represent. The if-you-don’t-mind spinelessness of those pretenders — in more ways than one — who want him gone must also have encouraged him too — even without Phil Hogan at his back.

There is another irony. Should he repel this attack, he will have a pyrrhic victory but show his usurpers in such a poor light that the party he rebuilt may be mortally wounded.

However, the greatest irony in this parable is that the unemployment figures as presented today are just a statistical photo opportunity for politicians. They no longer reflect how the world of work has changed. It is time to change how this data is parsed to give a deeper picture of the workplace. We need to know, without having to engage spreadsheets in the dance of the seven veils, how many jobs are full-time, how many are in the private sector or the public sector, how many are part-time or zero-hours contract positions, how many are gig jobs or minimum wage struggles. Without this important information all assessments are at best, unreliable.

And a final irony — Facebook probably has a version of this information already, so it’s no wonder Mark Zuckerberg thinks he could rule the world.


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