asked the Minister of Labour if he will publish as a monthly index in the Ministry of Labour Gazette the ratio of registered wholly unemployed to notified unfilled vacancies, showing separately the ratios for boys, girls, men and women in each administrative region.
No, Sir. The numbers of unfilled vacancies and wholly unemployed in the categories and areas mentioned by the hon. Member are published each month in the Ministry of Labour Gazette, but the publication of the ratio between the two sets of figures as an index would, in my view, invite misleading comparisons.
Is the Minister aware that I produce this index every month, for my own interest and knowledge, and find it most revealing? Does not the Minister think that if the information were published it would show much more accurately what the job opportunity position is in different parts of the country? Will the Minister consider this matter again? The index is very revealing.
The hon. Member says that it is possible, from the figures published, to calculate this ratio. The reason I said that I think it would be misleading is that we must compare like with like, and the only reasonable comparison is between vacancies and all unemployed in the same occupational classification. I do not believe that any other ratio has any validity.