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    May 19, 2016

    Some Newspapers Still Can't Tell The Difference Between Employment And New Jobs

    Every three months it's the same story.

    Moodboard / Getty Images

    Every three months the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes figures looking at "employment by nationality and country of birth". The latest statistics, released on Wednesday, showed that between January to March 2015 and January to March 2016 UK nationals working in the UK increased by 185,000 to 28.15 million, while non-UK nationals working in the UK increased by 229,000 to 3.34 million.

    ONS

    Every three months, when publishing these numbers, the ONS says: "The estimates of employment by both nationality and country of birth relate to the number of people in employment rather than the number of jobs. Changes in the series therefore show net changes in the number of people in employment, not the proportion of new jobs that have been filled by UK and non-UK workers."

    The statistics office doesn't even have figures for new jobs for UK or non-UK nationals.

    The UK Statistics Authority is just as clear on the issue. In 2014, it said: “From the available official statistics, it is therefore not possible to estimate the number of new jobs, nor the number of new jobs that are filled by UK nationals, nor the number of new jobs that are filled by non-UK nationals.”

    The Press Complaints Commission (now replaced by IPSO) has also been quite clear. Once, it even told the prime minister off for misrepresenting the numbers.

    Independent fact-checkers Full Fact have even tried to explain the difference between employment figures and jobs.

    You would think that this would have all been settled by now. Right? Not really. This is what happens pretty much every three months.

    Within minutes you get the first tweets:

    Non-UK workers have taken 55% of new jobs created in Britain over the past year - up 229,000 to 3.34 million

    Then come the headlines about migrants taking all the jobs:

    Thursday's Sun front page: Brits not fair! #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers #EUref

    Some of the news stories say things like "4 in 5 British jobs went to foreign nationals".

    This misunderstanding of numbers is not a new thing.

    National disgrace -> Three in four new jobs go to migrants from EU countries https://t.co/090MHqRVP5

    Although the proportions sometimes change:


    Shocking - EU migrants steal 75% of new UK jobs then top up with benefits: Leaked Whitehall report reveals concern https://t.co/Xv7PLsUfgK

    Every three months it's the same story.

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