I have written before that the economy tends to be newsworthy only when things are going badly. It is also true that it generally ranks lower down people’s concerns when performing well, as opposed to being the top political concern when we are in recession. It is only natural to be less worried about the economy when things are going well but we should never lose sight that our economy underpins everything, especially employment and the provision of public services.
Last week the official labour market statistics for the three months to June showed that employment is at a record high, with more than 3 million people in work since 2010, while unemployment is at the lowest level in over 40 years. At 1.48 million, unemployment is down by over a million since 2010. The 4.4% unemployment rate is down from 8% since 2010, while in Crawley our level is just 1.5%. There are also nearly 400,000 fewer young people out of work nationally since 2010.
These figures show that our strong economy is giving record numbers of people the chance to find and stay in work. Unemployment is low, employment is high and there are over three quarters of a million vacancies. This is great news for millions of ordinary working families and really is something worth celebrating.
It is a statement of fact that every Labour government has left unemployment higher than when it came to office. Gordon Brown and the last Labour government promised to “abolish boom and bust” but delivered a credit-fuelled boom followed by an even worse debt-laden bust. What makes this recklessness worse is that since being in opposition, Labour have opposed all the changes that followed to sort out their mess, including incentivising work so that it pays to be in work as opposed to being stuck on benefits.
Sometimes one doesn’t appreciate something until it is lost. That is the risk we have with our successful economy. We must keep on working so that the economy works for everyone and not go backwards by letting Labour in to wreck it once again.