16 MARCH 1934, Page 20


Greenwood in 74he Spectator of March 2nd quotes the official German unemployment figures, ruling out all question as to their accuracy on the grounds that they are confirmed by an approximately corresponding rise in the employment figures of the Health Insurance offices. There are various tests to which such figures can be put, and investigation does not bear him out.

In January, 1933, there were 6,073,000 unemployed, as against 4,059,055 in the following December—an improve- ment of . 2,014,000. The official Health Insurance figures for employment in the same months are January : 11,847,211 ; December : 13,287,238. The improvement here is one of 1,800,000 only, but the discrepancy might well be accounted for by differences in the method of computing employed and unemployed.

But these figures do not stand the test of a further check. The official statistics show that wage rates hardly varied during 1933, and the improved employment conditions should therefore be confirmed by (a) an increased yield from the wage tax, (b) an increased retail trade turnover. Actually, as compared with the figures for the end of 1982, the former was lower in December, 1938, by just over 2 per cent., while the latter had not varied.

This points to the conclusion that the official unemployment figures give a rather rosier picture than is justified, particu- larly when one remembers a fact that Mr. Greenwood does not mention—that many formerly active Social Demo crats and Communists are known to be afraid to register at the labour exchanges.—I am, Sir, &c., 37 Brompton Road, S.W. 3. ELIZABETH MUNROE.