HC Deb 18 February 1986 vol 92 cc146-7W
82. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Paymaster General what percentage of the Government's estimate of newly created job opportunities is based on statistical projections; and how accurate such projections have been since 1979.

Mr. Lang

The latest available estimates of the size of the employed labour force (which includes employees in employment, the self employed and armed forces) are for September 1985. Estimates for dates after mid-1984 include assumptions that

  1. (a) Self employment is increasing at the rate observed between 1981 and 1984, and
  2. (b) The undercounting in employees in employment estimates derived using sample survey data from employers is continuing to accumulate at the rate which Labour Force Survey data suggest occurred between 1983 and 1984.
These assumptions amount to 384,000 between June 1984 and September 1985; this is equivalent to 54 per cent. of the estimated increase of 709,000 (seasonally adjusted) in the employed labour force since the increasing employment trend began in March 1983.

The additions arising from these two assumptions are reassessed as each new year's labour force survey data become available. The revision which will be made later this year will take into account not only information from the 1985 labour force survey but also the results of the 1984 census of employment which will provide final employees in employment figures for September 1984 and hence for the period 1981 to 1984. Pending the availability of these further data a preliminary assessment of the accuracy of the assumptions can be made from the nature of the revisions that have been made as additional labour force survey data have become available. For example, the additions initially incorporated in the employed labour force estimates for 1981 to 1983, on the basis of the 1978 and 1981 census of employment results and the 1979 and 1981 labour force survey data, amounted to 65,000 a quarter; the equivalent current estimate for this period, using in addition the 1983 labour force survey data but pending the 1984 census results, is 46,800 a quarter. The same addition of 65,000 a quarter was initially used for the early part of 1983–84 but was revised for this period to 76,100 using the first results of the 1983 labour force survey and then, using the 1984, and revised 1983, labour force survey data, to 113,800. This figure consists of the quarterly growth of 68,300 in self employment as measured by the labour force survey, and an undercounting adjustment of 45,500 a quarter to the employees in employment estimates which is subject to revision when the 1984 census of employment results are available.

For periods since mid-1984 the current assumptions are that self employment is increasing by 31,300 a quarter (the average rate observed between 1981 and 1984) and that the undercounting in the employee estimates from sample survey data from employers is accumulting at 45,500 a quarter.