Sunday, 15 March 2009

How many?

Was out in Bishop's Stortford today, we briefly stopped by a supermarket and I caught sight of a newspaper headline.

Regular readers of this blog will know I've been tracking how many job vacancies there are in the UK based on How many are advertised on, and based on Gordon Brown's various statements in the House of Commons. Last Thursday I had the national figure being 430,000 vacancies.

With unemployment around 2 million, thats four and a half unemployed folk per job. Safe in this knowledge I figured the stats in the headline must be refering to how many people apply for each job, and thought nothing more of it.

I am not of the Office of National Statistics, I just go off what information I can scratch together.

Anyhoo, its late at night now, and I finally catch up on reading the article in The Observer, and the actual story is a little different.

The story is about Job Centre Pluses having to pinch staff from other departments, but the opening paragraphs are thus:-
Startling new figures have revealed that on average there are 10 jobseekers for every vacancy advertised in the UK. In one area of the south-east, 60 workers are available for each job.

This week, as unemployment is expected to burst through the 2 million barrier, The Observer can reveal that the spectre of mass unemployment is forcing the government to reinforce job centres, with civil servants diverted from child maintenance and disability claims.

The article doesn't actually give a figure of the number of job vacancies nationally, just a few local figures, 52 in the Isle of Wight, 4,275 in London, but from thems first two paragraphs we can calculate.

2 million unemployed / ten jobseekers per vacancy = 200,000 vacancies.

So crikey, that's less than half my figure of 430,000. What happened?

A month back Gordon Brown was saying there were 500,000 vacancies. And now The Observer is talking about there being a fraction of that left.

There'll be no job vacancies at all in no time.


  1. more on this here:

  2. Aye, but still no firm figures on how many job vacancies there are.

  3. given there are 2m claimants and a ratio of 10:1 it follows there must only be 200,000 vacancies being advertised via JC+ offices. This is interesting as it is roughly half the vacancies Reed claim, which means that 50% of vacancies are not being advertised via JC+. Which contradicts this edict:

    This is also interesting: