Cathy Newman over at Channel 4′s Fact Check has been saying for a while that David Cameron’s figures on private sector job creation are wrong. And he repeated the claim again today:
There are half a million more private sector jobs compared with the time of the last election.
So is Cameron right? Almost certainly not. The truth is that more than half a million private sector jobs have been created since the beginning of April 2010. But that was before the last election.
Since the beginning of July (the figures are produced quarterly) the number of net private sector jobs created is actually only 264,000. For Cameron’s stats to be correct, almost all of the private sector job created during Q2 2010 would have had to have come in May and June.
It’s not impossible, but official figures suggest it’s not true.
“Experimental figures” from the Office of National Statistics show that during that quarter, there was a surge in overall job creation in April, followed by only half that number in May, and a loss in June.
Presuming private sector job creation followed the pattern of overall job creation, it is probable that most of the private sector jobs created in Q2 2010 came in April, before the election.
Number 10′s defence is two pronged: that the monthly figures do not have the status of “national statistic”, and that using the quarter before the election was the same tactic Gordon Brown used to claim consecutive quarters of growth. In other words, they fudged the figures, so we’re going to too.