Self-employment: the punch bag of the recession

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

A report by the Resolution Foundation this week highlights the mismatch between official employment and pay data. When it talks about employment and job creation, the government includes the self-employed. When it comes to pay, though, the incomes of the self-employed are left out.

This isn’t because the government is cooking the books. It’s been done this way for years. But because of the way the labour market has moved, this peculiarity shows the Coalition’s figures in the best possible light.

Total employment is up, mostly because of self-employment. Take out self employment and the figures would be rubbish. The government wouldn’t have had much to boast about until the back end of last year.


Source: ONS Trends in Self-Employment

Leave the self-employed out of the pay calculations, though, and the full extent of the drop in earnings is disguised. The source of official earnings data, the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), does not include the self-employed. The…

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