HC Deb 10 February 1938 vol 331 cc1230-2
22. Mr. Lawson

asked the Minister of Labour to what extent unemployment has increased since October in Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and Italy; and whether he can give the figures for these countries for the last four months?

Mr. E. Brown

As the reply is necessarily long, I will, if I may, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that no comparison whatever can be made between the unemployment figures in this country and the unemployment figures in Germany?

Mr. Brown

I have done my best to make that clear in a rather long answer.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

Will the right hon. Gentleman also make it clear whether it refers to rates of wages and conditions as well as to the actual number of unemployed?

Mr. Brown

I am asked about the number of unemployed, but if the right hon. Member has other questions, perhaps he will put them down and I will do my best to get the information.

Mr. Lawson

Even in the German figures has there not been a great increase in unemployment in the last few months?

Mr. Brown

The figures show that on 31st October, 1937, there were registered 501,847 and on 31st December, 994,784.

Mr. E. Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that under the Goering Plan there is no method of comparison?

Following is the reply:

In Great Britain the total numbers of unemployed persons, including those temporarily stopped as well as those wholly unemployed, on the registers of the Employment Exchanges at one date in each of the past four months have been as shown below:

18th October, 1937 1,390,249
15th November, 1937 1,499,203
13th December, 1937 1,665,407
17th January, 1938 1,827,607

In the United States of America, it was officially estimated, on the basis of information obtained from a voluntary census of unemployment, that in the period from 16th to 20th November the total number of unemployed persons, including over 2,000,000 who were working on emergency relief schemes, was between 7,822,900 and 10,870,000. Corresponding figures are not available for other dates. The numbers of applicants for work on the registers of the Employment Exchanges comprised in, or affiliated to, the United States Employment Service, were as shown below. The figures include persons provided with work on public relief work schemes:

End of October, 1937 4,393,092
End of November, 1937 4,421,076
End of December, 1937 4,874,924

Corresponding figures for January, 1938, are not yet available.

According to estimates made by the American Federation of Labour and by the National Industrial Conference Board, respectively, the total numbers unemployed in October and November were as follow:

American Federation of Labour Estimate. National Industrial Conference Board Estimate.
October, 1937 8,491,000 6,363,000
November, 1937 9,268,000 7,585,000

Later figures are not yet available. Both these estimates include persons working on emergency relief schemes.

In Germany the numbers of persons registered at Employment Exchanges as unemployed were as follow:

31st October, 1937 501,847
30th November, 1937 572,621
31st December, 1937 994,784

Corresponding figures for January, 1938, are not yet available.

For Italy, official statistics of unemployment have not been published since September, 1935.

It should be observed that owing to variations in the scope of the statistics, and of the methods by which they are compiled, the figures given above do not provide a reliable basis for comparisons of the total amount of unemployment in the different countries.