“There’s over a million job vacancies – more than there are unemployed people who might fill them.”
In an article published in the Daily Express on 9 March, Conservative MP and former work and pensions secretary Chloe Smith said that the number of job vacancies was “more than there are unemployed people who might fill them.”
This isn’t correct, and the online version of this article has now been corrected after Ms Smith contacted the Express about the error, which Full Fact raised with her office.
According to the latest figures available from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people unemployed in the UK was 1.27 million at the end of 2022.
In the same period, there was a three-month average of 1.154 million job vacancies in the UK. (Both these figures are seasonally adjusted.)
As a result, there were about 1.1 unemployed people per vacancy between October and December 2022.
Ms Smith would have been right if she’d been talking about the figures in June-August 2022, when there were about 0.9 unemployed people per vacancy.
Talking about the October-December 2022 figures, the ONS says: “While this ratio remains very low by historical standards, this quarterly increase suggests a slight easing of recent tightness in the labour market, following consecutive falls in vacancy numbers.”
The number of vacancies fell to 1.134 million in the three months between November 2022 and January 2023, with unemployment figures over the same period yet to be published.
If an MP makes an inaccurate claim in the media they should take responsibility for ensuring it is appropriately corrected, and make efforts to ensure the correction is publicly available to anyone who might have seen the claim.
We’re grateful to Ms Smith and the Daily Express for correcting the error.
Image courtesy of Richard Townshend