Migrants get 85% of new jobs in Britain? Not ALL?

Septicisle and Anton Vowl were there first spotting the Keystone Cops style comedy bungling with yesterday's Daily Express headline. Apparently 'MIGRANTS GET 85% OF NEW JOBS IN BRITAIN'. I though it was ALL of them.

The same logic that led the paper to conclude that ALL new jobs had gone to migrants and get the story removed for being potentially misleading is what led to this one.

The logic goes like this. Since 1997, the number of people in the workforce has increased by 1.7 million. 1.45 million migrants have been added to the workforce since then, therefore migrants have taken 85% of new jobs.

It sounds plausible enough on the surface, but it's this kind of logic that led to the paper claiming that ALL new jobs had gone to migrants in the last three years. That's clearly rubbish, since everyone in the country is likely to know at least one UK born person who got a new job since 2003.

It also led the Express to conclude in its previous article that migrants took more new jobs than the actual number of new jobs that existed. If you were honestly calculating the percentage of new jobs that had gone to migrants, and your working showed they took more than there actually were, wouldn't you decide there must be something wrong with your assumptions? Depends on whether you were looking for an honest answer, eh?

I can't link back to the article now since it's been taken off the site while it's being investigated for being misleading, but it said:
The total of migrant employees since 2003 has soared by 740,000, while the number of Britons in work has gone into reverse and dropped by 120,000. This means that foreign workers filled all the extra 620,000 jobs which were created during those four years.
The reason those figures don't add up is the same one that means you can't say 85% new jobs have gone to migrants. People retire. People leave the workforce. Some people who entered the workforce won't be counted because they filled those positions.

In fact, that's one of the main reasons people use for encouraging immigration. There are more people about to reach retirement age in the UK than are old enough to enter the workforce, so we need people to take up the slack. You can disagree with that proposition if you like, but if you use the argument that using immigration to take up the slack is a bad thing because more foreign people will get jobs, you're sailing dangerously close to the bit of the ocean known on the maps as 'Xenophobia'. The one with the dirty great whirlpool in it the sailors call 'Racism'. Arr.

If you wanted to honestly measure the percentage of new jobs went foriegn-born people since 1997, you'd have to use the total figure of new entrants into the workforce in that time - not the total for the overall rise because the number of people who leave the workforce will obscure the results. Doing it the wrong way in a shorter time period is what led to the Express's ridiculous 'ALL new jobs headline and the even more stupid 'more than ALL new jobs' calculation.

On top of that, there are the usual tabloid tricks, like the claim that:
Figures slipped out to MPs last month showed that the number of UK-born workers in employment increased by just 242,000 between 1997 and the end of last year to 24.1 million, the lowest level since 1997.
They weren't slipped out last month. They were published in Hansard last October which is available to the public. (The ones from last month cover the other figures in the article, about individual indistries. Those was published in Hansard too). Presumably 'slipped out' means 'publicly available but not given to us in a press release'.

And notice the 'lowest level since 1997', which gives the impression that the numbers of UK born in work have been in freefall for ten years, when in fact the number is higher now than it was then, but it's just that it's been higher in the intervening years.

There's also a nice bit of low level lying:
In contrast, the number of foreign-born workers in jobs in the UK increased by 1.45 million over the same period.
You could forgive the paper for rounding that up to 1.4 million, but adding the .05 on the end takes the biscuit. The actual rise is 1.365. Using the real numbers of new members of the workforce (1.682m) and foreign born workers gives only 81%. Still high, but not as scary as 85%.

Why is this on the front page? Are five month old figures really the most important thing happening in the world today?

To make it an almost perfect immigration scare story, there's even a quote from David Davis. Hurrah! Plank.

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