Working in preparation for the budget, I’ve been looking at some stats from the OECD. I was interested to find out to what extent public sector employment could be thought of as a way of protecting the economy, and that led me to the nearest approximation I could find, “Employment in general government and public corporations“. The figures don’t show any clear relationship to economic performance, but I wondered if they might show a different kind of effect. Here is a table tracking the OECD’s listings of public sector employment and child poverty.
|Employment in general government and public corporations||Poverty among children, %, late 2000s|
There are reasons not to trust the figures here – is child poverty in the UK only 13.2%? – and simple statistics can mislead, but a correlation of the two columns comes out on Excel at -0.56, which is unusually high for social data. It does look as though public sector employment and job creation in the public sector are key elements protecting people from poverty.