It was a bizarre Question Time yesterday with Key, English, and Joyce all answering questions on the dire jobs numbers and giving contradictory excuses. Key said the HLFS unemployment number is the right figure to use but it ‘jumps around a lot’. English blamed the international situation. Joyce said we should look at benefit numbers and, besides, we were doing well internationally. But the truth of it is that, any way you cut it, National has failed on jobs.
Lets go through all the indicators.
The main one is the unemployment rate. At 7.3%, this is at its highest level this century. It is up from 4.2% when they entered office – a 74% rise under National.
Next, the number of unemployed people. At 175,000, this is at its highest level in 20 years. It is up from 97,000 when they entered office – an 80% rise under National.
Next, the number of jobless people (this is the unemployed plus people who want to work but aren’t looking ‘actively’ enough to count at unemployed – eg, they’re only looking in the newspaper). At 295,000, this is at its highest level ever. It is up from 126,000 when they entered office – a 65% rise under National.
Next, the number of underemployed people (those with a job, wanting more hours than they can get – eg. part-time workers wanting to go full-time). At 113,300, this is up 31,000 from 82,000 when they entered office – a 38% rise under National.
Next, the number of employed people. At 2,218,000, this is up just 8,000 in the last year and a half, despite a promise in Budget 2011 of 170,000 more people in work. It is up just from 24,000 when they entered office – a 1% rise under National vs a 5% increase in the working age population.
Next, the number of filled jobs. At 1,714,500, this is down 13,000 when they entered office – a 1% fall under National.
Next, the number of people on the unemployment benefit. At 50,400, this is up 27,100 from 23,300 when they entered office – a 116% rise under National. (wasn’t it pathetic when Paula Bennett starting reading the wanted ads in Parliament yesterday to insinuate there were plenty of jobs, people were just not looking for them? The truth is, yes new jobs are being created all the time but more are being destroyed at the same time, and that’s why there’s more and more people unable to find work)
Finally, the number of people on all benefits. At 321,000, this is up by 51,000 from 260,000 when they entered office – a 23% rise under National.
So, it’s awful however you look at it… and that’s without even going into things like the number of manufacturing jobs, now at its lowest level on record.
But isn’t it just the rest of the world’s fault? Aren’t we do well relative to the rest of the world? Not according to OECD stats presented by Russel Norman in Parliament yesterday, which show our increase in unemployment as been over 50% larger than the OECD average in the past four years – 3.1% in New Zealand, 2% on average in the OECD.
Not according to those same statistics, which show that in 15 of the 34 OECD countries, unemployment has dropped in the last year and he only countries to have an increase of our size or larger are Greece, Israel, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
And not according to Statistics New Zealand, which says our ranking has gone from 6th lowest unemployment in the OECD four years ago to 15th lowest today.