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Worried about jobs

I know quite a few people who are out of work, and a few more who had to jump through hoops for months before finally landing a job.  We might have record numbers in work, nearly 30m, the highest since records began in 1971, but there’s no question that jobs are hard to find.

Some of the gloom-mongers think that this is permanent, and tell us it’s because the Chinese and Indians can now out-compete us, and that the advanced economies are now sclerotic by comparison.

I don’t buy this, though it does mean we have to move our jobs up-market into higher added value stuff, and into services, especially at the higher-skilled end.

I lean to the view that we’ve made jobs too difficult to create.  A combination of high taxes, plus the mind-boggling form-filling and regulatory compliance, makes people reluctant to start new businesses and to take on employees.  If we exempted small firms from these burdens it would go a long way to creating more jobs.  If a small employer didn’t have to sort our PAYE taxes and National Insurance, and didn’t have to worry about unfair dismissal, maternity and paternity leave, sick pay, holiday pay, and all the rest of it, they might spend time and effort instead on drumming up extra business and taking on extra staff.

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