§ 104. Mr. FELL
asked if the estimate of the number of unemployed, as stated in the "Labour Gazette," is a great deal too low; and if the percentage should be over 8 per cent. for the past month for those engaged in the building trade?
I am aware that in the case of the building trades there is a considerable difference between the unemployed percentages according to the statistics of insurance and those based on trade union returns. In these trades the trade union records of men out of work relate mainly to carpenters and plumbers. The percentages based on these figures have been found in the past to be a fairly good barometer of the general course of employment in the building trades as a whole, but they have not been used by the Board of Trade as a measure of the total volume of unemployment, and the inclusion of builders' labourers would naturally raise the percentage considerably. It may be remembered that Mr. Ackland, in his actuarial report on the unemployment insurance scheme, made allowance for this by doubling the recorded percentage of unemployed in the building trades for the purpose of his calculations. As soon as the records of the insured trades made it possible to give the percentage out of work based on the whole number employed, the figure was published in the "Board of Trade Labour Gazette," and will continue to be so published.