This morning the latest UK Recruitment and Employment Confederation / KPMG UK Labour Market Survey is out. Good news is to be found amongst the headlines. Firstly the number of job vacancies grew. There are more jobs available in September 2010 than September 2009. More people were appointed to permanent jobs in September 2010 than 2009. These are positive signs and should give cause for optimism. They don’t. Why is that? Good news doesn’t sell newspapers, it doesn’t work on air. The 24 hour media world in which we now live is not interested in painting a positive picture.
Take the BBC (those purveyors of doom and gloom for us Brits). The headline for the above report reads as follows;
“Jobs market growth slows again”
Talk about how to turn a positive in to a negative! We have jobs market growth. However virtually every media outlet reporting this story focuses on slowing jobs market growth.
Why is jobs growth slowing? Nothing here that we weren’t expecting, nothing that we all know needs to happen. Jobs market growth is slowing is because public sector hiring activity has slowed dramatically. It had to. At one point we had 52% of the UK workforce working in the public sector. Simple economics dictate that is impossible to sustain. We just can’t afford it.
Back to the good news. There is continued strong demand for engineering, construction and executive staff, reflecting the recovery in the private sector. We need it. Services (public or private) cannot sustain an economy, we need to make stuff. Growth in manufacturing is vital to the long-term sustainable success of the UK economy. Job creation in the private sector is great news for all. It is job creation in the private sector that feeds the great public sector services we have in the UK.
Back to the headlines? If your glass is half full, you have jobs growth. That gives people, business and employers confidence. It encourages people to think positively about investment intentions, hiring intentions. Confidence is fragile but it is crucial to so many elements of the economy. If your glass is half empty and jobs growth is slowing, you are nervous. You are not going to hire, invest, grow your business, create jobs. The talk is of a double dip in the jobs market in much the same way as it is talked about incessantly about the economy.
I wonder if journalists ever stop to consider the wider implications of what they report?
Self fulfilling prophesy? Be careful what you wish for.