Earlier this week, I explained why David Cameron is misleading voters when he claims that "one million" private sector jobs have been created since the coalition took office (as he did in his conference speech and at this week's PMQs). Cameron's figure deceptively includes 196,000 further education and sixth form college posts reclassified from the public sector in March; the real figure is a less impressive 874,000 (1,070,000 minus 196,000). As the Office for National Statistics stated in its most recent release:
These educational bodies employed 196,000 people in March 2012 and the reclassification therefore results in a large fall in public sector employment and a corresponding large increase in private sector employment between March and June 2012.
When Conservative MP Claire Perry nevertheless trotted out the stat on last night's Question Time, I called her out on it. In response, the Tory Treasury team tweeted:
.@georgeeaton the one million jobs created stat takes into account the reclassification issue
— @ToryTreasury (@ToryTreasury) October 25, 2012
Yet the only way that the Tories can achieve a figure of a million, whilst excluding the reclassified posts, is by measuring the rise in private sector employment since quarter one of 2010. In other words, by using pre-election data from April and May 2010 (resulting in a figure of 1,377,000). This would be allowable if Cameron referred to "private sector job creation since March 2010" (noting, perhaps, how Alistair Darling's fiscal stimulus aided job creation), but he doesn't. In his speech to the Conservative conference, he said:
Since this government took office, over one million new jobs have been created in the private sector.
Despite the Tories' protestations, it's clear that Cameron is misleadingly including the 196,000 posts transferred from the public sector. For one thing, if he isn't, why doesn't he use the figure of 1,377,000?
After promising a new era of accuracy and transparency in statistics, the Tories have lamentably failed to deliver.