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Are you ‘really’ unemployed?

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, December 8th, 2009 - 5 comments
Categories: unemployment - Tags:

Governments use statistical tricks to lower the official unemployment rate. This fun video shows how many jobless people get swept under the carpet.
It’s not that the statisticians aren’t aware of the jobless. In the US, they use different definitions of unemployment. ‘U-3’, the official unemployment rate only counts those people who are actively looking for work who don’t have any work. The wider ‘U-6’ counts people who are ‘marginally attached’ to the workforce, or have given up looking because there are no jobs, or have taken a few hours work a week in lieu of a real job.

America’s 10% official unemployment rate might sound bad but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. U-6 unemployment stands at 17.2%.

In New Zealand, Stats counts the underemployed and the people who have become ‘discouraged’ from seeking work but doesn’t add them to the count for the unemployment rate. true unemployment

sleepytimes - smallWhen we do count them, the number of jobless people leaps from 150,000 to 375,000. The reality is that nearly 16% of Kiwis who want to work can’t find jobs or enough work, and the government is doing nothing about it. No wonder it’s something the government doesn’t like to talk about.

(graph data from Stats infoshare. It’s not seasonally adjusted, btw, Stats doesn’t bother doing that for jobless and underemployed. You can see the seasonal variations, like the one the government is now claiming credit for)

5 comments on “Are you ‘really’ unemployed? ”

  1. Will John Key be “Relaxed” about that too?

  2. fizzleplug 2

    In a elongated period of strong economic growth, unemployment fell.

    During a period of global recession, unemployment grew.

    Surprise?

    • Bored 2.1

      Fiz, it pains me to agree, whilst Labour claimed to have diminished the unemployment rate, they were as you stated boom years.

      Not much joy here when criticising Keys mob, the current numbers reflect both the worldwide economic situation and an adherence to the economic policy status quo that we have had since 1984.

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.2

      Not at all surprised. But the conclusion of Marty’s post states “the government is doing nothing about it”. That, surely, is the point?

      In Australia, Kevin Rudd gave me $900 simply for being a taxpayer. Well gee thanks Kev, but I’d rather you’d have taken my $900, and the $900 you gave to everyone else still earning an income, and used it to sustain employment.

      There were numerous suggestions put forward by various think tanks and the unions. I recall the unions suggested that struggling companies could, say, pay their workers for three days a week and the government chip in for the other two. That way the companies would have survived the downturn and people would have kept their jobs.

      But no, the thought of all those votes from the “wow, Kev bought me a new plasma telly” mob won that ideological battle.

      Governments responded poorly to the downturn and now they’re responding poorly (or not at all) to the resultanty unemployment, preferring instead to manipulate the statistics so as to deny the extent of the problem.

      That’s the issue – what’s Bennett’s answer?

  3. Kruk 3

    I doubt he’ll be overtly concerned.

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