Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 21 May 1921
Over 4 Million Unemployed
The volume of unemployment has now reached very serious proportions. Taking the number of Mineworkers involved directly or indirectly in the dispute as 1,200,000, there are in addition throughout the United Kingdom 1,920,522 persons wholly employed and 1,095,999 working systematic short time, the aggregate been over 4,216,000.
To find the corresponding highest rate of unemployment one has to go back to the period following the Franco-Prussian war in the 70s, when the level of trade union unemployment was estimated that at 10%. Today it is about 20%, but, including the miners and other classes out of employment, somewhere about 30% of all the workers are idle.
Since the present coal dispute began the live registers of the Minister of Labour which are the best medium by which unemployment can be gauged with any degree of accuracy, have shown an upward curve of over 595,000 persons as wholly unemployed, and of 274,000 as under employed.
The strangulation of industry has been most prominent in London and the surrounding district, and in the great manufacturing centres of the North West, Yorkshire and the East and West Midlands. In Scotland and in Wales industry generally is almost at a standstill.
Even after the resumption work in the Coalfield the wheels of industry will revive slowly for some time and supplies of fuel are scarce. Conditions have reached such a pitch that the gloom and the fog surrounding everything cannot be dispelled immediately by the razor vault falling upon a satisfactory settlement of the dispute