14 MARCH 1941, Page 3

Unemployment Disappearing

It was realised before the war started that under war con- ditions the problem of finding work for the unemployed would disappear, and that the difficulty would be to find enough men to do the jobs. That point was reached long ago in most of the skilled trades, and now unemployment is nearing extinction in every sphere of male labour. It is true the registered un- employed on February loth still totalled 580,849, but of these only 284,386 were men, of whom only 200,16o were wholly unemployed. When we deduct those who were changing over from one job to another and some 35,000 who are described as relatively unfit, there is left a small reserve of some 90,000 men. Undoubtedly over the country as a whole more men are wanted than are available, and a tightening-up of the organisation might result in the absorption of men who are giving up jobs and awaiting re-employment, and might hasten the employment of men who happen to be in the wrong place and are wanted elsewhere. There is no real margin of fit labour, and the time has come not only when the older men but an ever-increasing number of women must be drawn into work. Here there is still a considerable reserve of labour, and more than is shown by the figures; since numbers of women capable of doing useful work are not registered.