“Do you want more poor people or fewer poor people?”

Statistics to be released soon will show that youth unemployment has surpassed the magic 1,000,000 figure for the first time. Terrible news, yes?

Except the model by which unemployment is measured has now been revised, to reflect the country more accurately.

Under the last Labour government, only young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than six months were classed as long-term unemployed. After 10 months claiming the benefit, most of them were automatically moved onto a training “allowance”, another type of state benefit.

Therefore between 1998, the number of 18-24 year olds claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than six months fell from 120,000 to 35,000 people.

from “Youth unemployment on the rise due to ‘honest figures’ claims government” in the Telegraph

It’s another moment of real life imitating The West Wing. As in the ‘Indians in the Lobby’ episode, where the OMB releases its new model for measuring poverty, the President asks how it looks. ‘That depends,’ says Toby, ‘Do you want more poor people or fewer poor people?’

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