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Making sense of the (un)employment stats: Census 2013

Written By: - Date published: 11:22 am, December 12th, 2013 - 21 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, jobs, paula bennett, same old national, unemployment - Tags:

A Statistics NZ quick stats page on “Work” is both useful and puzzling.

Unemployment has increased from 2006, being back nearer the level in 2001:

Unemployment increased since 2006, but was slightly lower than in 2001. The unemployment rates for the last three censuses were:

* 2013 – 7.1 percent

* 2006 – 5.1 percent

* 2001 – 7.5 percent.

By age group, the statistics for the youngest cohort are very worrying:

Unemployment was higher for the 15–24 year age group than for the labour force overall. In 2013, the unemployment rate for this age group was 18.4 percent.

In 2001 the 15-24 yrs unemployment rate was 17.2%; in 2006, 13.3%

For the 65+ age group, both the employment and unemployment rates have risen:

The percentage of people aged 65 years and over who were employed nearly doubled since 2001. In 2013, 22.1 percent of those aged 65 years and over were employed compared with 11.4 percent in 2001.

But the unemployment rate for the 65+ group was:

2001: 7.5%

2006: 5.1$

2013: 7.1%

Nevertheless, the employment rate for the over 65s has doubled compared with 2001.

It is also necessary to consider the difference between the unemployment rate, and the “labour force” statistics.

The unemployment rate is the number of people aged 15 years and over who did not have a paid job, were available for work, and were actively seeking work, expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

People aged 15 years and over are defined as not in the labour force if they were not employed and were not actively seeking work. This includes students, people caring for children or other family members, retired people, and people who were unable to work for some reason such as illness or disability.

So, amongst those not in the labour force, there are many who are actually unemployed, but have given up on looking for work.  Some are not eligible for benefits because their partners earn above the limit allowed by WINZ.  These will be included in those people who had “zero income” according to the Census. This group increased significantly between 2006 and 2013.

According to the Quick Stats page on employment:

Women made up 60.0 percent of those not in the labour force.

A high proportion of these will most likely be the causalities of Paula Bennett’s punitive war on beneficiaries, which hits large numbers of low income women particularly hard.

paula poverty

Staggeringly, nearly a third of adults are not in the labour force:

Over a million adults (people aged 15 years and over) were not in the labour force in 2013 – up 10.0 percent since 2006. Almost 1 in 3 people (32.9 percent) aged 15 and over were not in the labour force.

The chart of major occupational groups is puzzling, and looks too much of a distortion to be useful:

Stats NZ quick stats

See the Stats NZ web page for a better view of the graph.

It looks to me like “Professional” would contain a diverse group of people with different amounts of power and status: e.g. a teacher, a lawyer, a corporate CEO.  And how is this group differentiated from ‘Managers”.  It seems to me that there is far more differentiation of the other categories, artificially inflating the “Professionals” as being proportionally dominant.

For instance, “Technicians and trades workers”, plus “Labourers”, plus “machinery operators and personal service workers” make up about 35% of workers.  This compares with about 24% being “Professionals” and about 17% being “Managers”.  Adding the low status, low power “Sales workers” and “Clerical and administrative workers” to the largely manual workers, makes up about 57%.

More telling is the areas in which people are employed:

Stats NZ quick stats industries

See the Stats NZ web page for a better view of the graph.

Mining: such a small proportion of our workforce.  Agriculture is not as big an employer as manufacturing. Nevertheless, the manufacturing workforce has declined since 2006. “Information media and telecommunications” has declined slightly.  I would have thought this would be a growth area?  Meanwhile “Financial and insurance services” showed a slight increase”.

What else do the Census statistics show?

Will it take a lot of Nats being made unemployed to get better employment stats and conditions?

[Update] Occupation categories

The “Manager” and “Professionals” categories by stats NZ, can be seen here (h/t ghostwhowalksnz).

Full classifications here.

From the excel sheet, “Managers” include,

Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators (includes Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators)

Farmers and Farm Managers (includes Agriculture farmers, Fruit or Nut Grower, Apiarist and more)

Specialist Managers (includes Advertising, Public Relations and Sales Managers; Business Administration Managers; Construction, Distribution and Production Managers; sports administrators)

Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers (includes ; Education, Health and Welfare Services Managers – such as child care centre managers & uni faculty managers; )

“Professionals” include:

Arts and Media Professionals

Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals (includes: Accountants, Auditors and Company Secretaries; Financial Brokers and Dealers, and Investment Advisers; Human Resource and Training Professionals; Information and Organisation Professionals; Sales, Marketing and Public Relations Professionals)

Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionalas

Education Professionals (includes School Teachers; Tertiary Education Teachers, uni lecturers)
Health Professionals (a load of categories including surgeons, GPs, nurses, midwives, naturopaths….)
ICT Professionals
Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals (includes lawyers, student counsellors, ministers of religion, social workers, historians, interpreters, …

And so it goes – such a broad range of people included in “Professionals” and “Managers” categories.

21 comments on “Making sense of the (un)employment stats: Census 2013”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    The number of folk over 65 employed, up
    The number of young people unemployed, up
    One Third of working-age adults not employed
    40% of people self-identify as ‘professionals’ and ‘managers’
    Around 15% of people work in retail, or wholesale, trade (selling consumption)
    Extraction industry does not appear to be the employment panacea the Tories tout it to be.

    It’s a recipe for productive success and improving balance of payments! ;) All that is required now is more roads for the ‘managers’, ‘professionals’ , shop-keepers and consumers to get around on.

    • Macro 1.1

      These are the sort of numbers that indicate how badly our economy is performing – it’s an economy for about 45% of the population, with the top tier getting the majority of the goodies a few slaves to deliver them, and “f**k” the rest.

    • Macro 1.2

      These are the sort of numbers that indicate how badly our economy is performing – it’s an economy for about 45% of the population, with the top tier getting the majority of the goodies a few slaves to deliver them, and “f**k” the rest.

  2. ghostrider888 2

    and that’s the economic Five-year plan sorted. 8-)

  3. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3

    Youth unemployment is a massive government failure and ensuring there are decent jobs for young people should be the absolute priority for any government.

    It is interesting to note that this failure is occurring throughout the world.

    What this will be leading to is large numbers of the new generation not feeling welcomed or part of society.

    What are politicians problem on this issue? Are they too well paid to realise what damage this causes to young people’s lives and society in general? Politicians have to be seriously disengaged with the effects of unemployment to be ignoring the problem in the way that they are.

    I dislike the emphasis on raising the retirement age while statistics in youth unemployment are so seriously high.

    Education is getting seriously unaffordable for some – it might pay to ensure those who do not come from wealthy backgrounds have education as an option aswell.

    • karol 3.1

      It should be noted that there was a bit of a decrease in the youth unemployment rate under the Clark government. Whether that trend would have continued to happen if Labour had had another term in government, …. who knows? But the rate has gone up again under Key’s watch.

      I agree that raising the retirement age is a bad proposal, and that more attention needs to be given to youth employment, training and education.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3.1.1

        Yes Clark’s government made a substantial dent in unemployment (taking into account their methods to hide some of it) There was a real feeling that ensuring there were jobs was being taken seriously – there were increasing opportunities in evidence.

        Of course voters were then fed a load of crock by the spinners who went on to get into government about how ‘Labour spends too much’ – misinformation – without any analysis what they are spending money on and how this expenditure is benefitting society socially as well as financially.

        It is about time that people in this country learned some simple cost benefit theory and do the analysis themselves so they would stop believing the bull we are consistently fed.

      • leftriteleft 3.1.2

        I agree that raising the retirement age is a bad proposal, and that more attention needs to be given to youth employment, training and education.

        Does anyone remember the Apprentice System.
        It turned out Tradespeople.

        Big problem now.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Karol, people who aren’t in the labour force include stay-at-home-mums and stay-at-home-dads.

    It’s therefore not surprising and hardly “staggering” that 1/3rd of adults are not in the labour force, or that 60% of women aren’t in the labour force.

    • Tiger Mountain 4.1

      This whole scenario needs new official definitions of work and the introduction of a UBI. People do so much unpaid and underpaid work of a socially useful nature that does not get credit from bare statistics. I include community, caring, domestic, sporting and environmental tasks here. Slash DoC and the weeds still need busting, mum has chronic health problems? some one has to (regularly) look after her.

      WINZ has done such a good job of demonizing, harassing, obfuscating and denying their “clients” status and entitlements that many people will just not enter an office knowing the uncaring bureaucratic machine and community stigma they would have to face. Growing numbers of regular beggars in my West Auckland neighbourhood are not there because they think it is a great career path.

      People actually in work often need more hours, the working poor. Or better conditions and pay. Others kid themselves they are in ‘glamour’ industries–film, fashion, tourism, gourmet end food and beverage, but find it is precarious contract work barely at minimum wage, pay your own GST etc.

      So the stats are very disturbing particularly if you are a teenager. The answers?
      • A UBI for all citizens
      • Sit on WINZ hard and go out of our way to provide real social security
      • Can the Reserve Bank Act
      • Give Unions back unprecedented in recent decades, rights, to organise across industries to obtain fair wages and health and safety at work, tilt the playing field in the workers direction
      • Can WFF in work tax credit, make the middle class get off their butts and join a union to raise their income
      • Create some redundancies in Parliament next election on the Tory side
      • Reflate the public sector and public works, can all these dubious PPP arrangements
      Thats just for starters, are you listening Labour? Greens and Mana certainly are.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    Looking closer at the Professionals occupation grouping is this

    Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators
    Farmers and Farm Managers
    Specialist Managers
    Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers
    Arts and Media Professionals
    Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals
    Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals
    Education Professionals
    Health Professionals
    ICT Professionals
    Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/methods/classifications-and-standards/classification-related-stats-standards/occupation/output.aspx

    • Rogue Trooper 5.1

      wot? no Gardening ‘Professionals’?, Cycling ‘Professionals’? Blogging ‘Professionals’?…Talk about a grass ceiling ;)

    • karol 5.2

      Thanks, ghost. That’s actually the subgroup of “Managers”, which are put at the top of the tree,

      and some of the Professional categories, category II.

      Full classifications here.

      From the excel sheet, “Managers” include,

      Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators (includes Chief Executives, General Managers and Legislators)

      Farmers and Farm Managers (includes Agriculture farmers, Fruit or Nut Grower, Apiarist and more)

      Specialist Managers (includes Advertising, Public Relations and Sales Managers; Business Administration Managers; Construction, Distribution and Production Managers; sports administrators)

      Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers (includes ; Education, Health and Welfare Services Managers – such as child care centre managers & uni faculty managers; )

      “Professionals” include:

      Arts and Media Professionals

      Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals (includes: Accountants, Auditors and Company Secretaries; Financial Brokers and Dealers, and Investment Advisers; Human Resource and Training Professionals; Information and Organisation Professionals; Sales, Marketing and Public Relations Professionals)

      Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionalas

      Education Professionals (includes School Teachers; Tertiary Education Teachers, uni lecturers),
      Health Professionals (a load of categories including surgeons, GPs, nurses, midwives, naturopaths….)
      ICT Professionals
      Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals (includes lawyers, student counsellors, ministers of religion, social workers, historians, interpreters, …

      And so it goes – such a broad range of people included in “professionals”.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Paper shufflers (incl. digital equivalents thereof), ticket clippers and professional torturers (e.g. change managers, Human Resources, peer reviewers) seem to make up a good number of these professionals and managers. They are basically gatekeepers and functionaries for the people with the real power.

    The tendency for everyone to be a vice president of something as in the US really is a ruling class ‘slice and dice’ tactic to stifle collective thought. Sure we rarely work in factories of hundreds of people now, not due to some brave new world where everyone wears a black top and geeky glasses and works contract in IT but because corporates shift manufacturing offshore and our own government contracts out railway workshops, part of the vital infrastructure, and generally puts a sinking lid on public sector works. And year zeros state housing! Sure some lovely wee niches exist for startups that leave most of us untouched until they make the news for being sold on which is usually capital outflow adding to the current account deficit.

    The upshot is manual workers are now quite likely to be involved in the service sector for example such as the “companion animal” industry–dog walkers, doggy day cares, mobile pet grooming, animotels etc.
    Is this a bad thing? Well not in its self, people have to try and do something as all those lawn mowers did in the 80s thanks to mass layoffs courtesy of Rogernomics. But that is the nub, the macro settings of the economy which have been set a course to run like a pirate ship for 30 years now. Arrrrghh!

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    often appears, in NZ anyway, that Everybody wants to rule the world

  8. Digmen1 8

    This “adults dropping out of the workforce” is happening all over the western world.

    Its not just a NZ thing.

    Production is / has / will keep shifting to Asia due to high western wages and costs.

  9. Mucha 9

    $442m paid to contractors to do WINZ case managers job annually and pushing people into lame industry casual jobs like hospitality or cleaning jobs with the mandatory “Wage Plus” subsidy costing $72m annually kinda tells you that they’ve run out of ideas and think the free market with subsidies will fix it??

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