Two senior figures on the Island have questioned the recently published claims that the Isle of Wight had the highest ratio of job seekers to jobs in the UK.
Many newspapers reported the story, sourced from the Trade Union Council (TUC), that in some areas of the UK people on Jobseekers allowance outnumber job vacancies 20 to 1. The Isle of Wight was at the top of the list with claims of 60 claimants per vacancy.
TUC methods questioned
Since the original reports, both Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, and David Pugh, Leader of the Council, have questioned the methodology of the TUC.
The central complaint is that the TUC figures came from a single month – January 2009, so for an Island which has so much tourism and agriculture employment, the figures were heavily skewed.
The Island’s voices were added to by the Department for Work and Pensions, “The figures quoted by the TUC only include vacancies in Jobcentre Plus offices and not across the wider economy,” their spokesperson said.
Andrew Turner summed up his position, “The Island’s sample size is a perennial problem – we are a small county and tiny fluctuations in numbers can give rise to very different outcomes. The TUC counted only jobs advertised through Jobcentre Plus in a single month; nationally only about one third of vacancies are advertised that way and there is anecdotal evidence that a smaller percentage of jobs go through Jobcentre Plus in rural areas like the Island. ”