This was salient for a number of reasons: for a start, that month followed one of the worst quarters on record for new private sector jobs, with just 5,000 posts filled between June and September 2011. From an economist\’s perspective, that is as good as standing still.
Err, no, from an economist\’s perspective that would be an unmitigated disaster. For the economy chews through about 10% of all jobs each year. 3 million or so disappear, 3 million or so are created. Unemployment rises when the disappearing (which tends to be a fairly constant rate, it\’s the creation which tends to vary) is higher than the creation, fall when vice versa.
Call it 750k a quarter, just as a round number. If there were only 5k jobs created then this would indeed be terrible. What Zoe is looking at is not job creation though. She\’s looking at the net number between destriuction and creation, a very, very, different thing indeed.
You might call me a pendant for saying this: but I mention it precisely because I think that Zoe is ignorant of this point.
If Reliance can do Ordnance Survey\’s admin and catering for less money than OS did it themselves, or Boeing can do IT for the Ministry of Defence, and that\’s cheaper, it seems like an obvious boon. But, especially in low-skilled work, you have to wonder how it comes to be cheaper. Nobody\’s invented a quicker way to do cleaning; it\’s more likely that wages are forced down, job security is destroyed, pensions are axed.
Well, there\’s specialisation, division of labour, these sorts of things. And as to no one inventing a quicker way of doing cleaning.
Umm, Zoe is indeed female? One who does her own housework? Has, say, a mop, a broom, a vacuum cleaner? All of which are quicker ways of doing cleaning than a damp rag and a carpet beater?
And might we, just possible, postulate that a team of cleaners who spicialise in nothing but cleaning, say, offices, might have high value, high performance, specialist, such machines in a way that an individual directly employed cleaner might not?
No, of course, I don\’t know and I don\’t insist that it is true but it is possible, no?