Thursday, 19 May 2016

InFacts: Sun overstates foreign worker stats

InFacts: Sun overstates foreign worker stats

by Jack Schickler

"The Sun get their 4 in 5 figure by dividing the year-on-year rise in foreign-born workers – 330,000 in the 1st quarter of 2016 – by the annual rise in UK employment – 412,000 in the same quarter. But someone can be born abroad without being a foreign national – Boris Johnson, born in New York, being a good example. The ONS release states “non-UK nationals working in the UK increased by 229,000”, which constitutes 56% of the total rise in employment, not 80%.

So did 56% of the “British jobs” created last year go to foreign nationals? No. The 412,000 new jobs number is a net one, setting jobs lost against new ones created. Most of those who take up a new post have just left another. The ONS figures show that as a proportion of the total 31.58 million people in work in the UK, non-UK nationals represented 3.34 million, or 10.6%.

Although more recent data is not available, Jonathan Wadsworth of London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance put the proportion of new hires filled by non-UK born workers in 2014 to be about 17.5% – but even this may include UK nationals born abroad."

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