The Daily Mail suggested that large numbers of public sector jobs had been created in the public sector between 2008 and 2010. Dennis Roberts wrote to point out that most of the growth was due to the reclassification of existing banking jobs from the private to the public sector.
You miss an important point on public sector jobs ("How bloated state grew in recession", 22 October 2010). While it is true that on the most reliable Office for National Statistics measure for public sector employment, this grew by nearly 250,000 jobs between September 2008 and June 2010, it does not represent ‘job creation’, as you put it, on anything like that scale. About 230,000 of the increase was due to the reclassification of Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland Group to the public sector. Likewise, the drop in private sector employment, of around 440,000, is partly because these same jobs were transferred out of the private sector.
The spending review announcements have heightened the need for high quality statistics on employment in the public sector. While ONS does its part by making a range of information available to inform the public, together with guidance about its uses, it is important that the figures are represented correctly.
Director, Surveys and Administrative Sources Directorate
Office for National Statistics
Newport NP10 8XG