The latest Household Labour Force Employment statistics are out, and on the surface, look good for John and Bill.
James Weir and Hamish Rutherford, breathlessly report on Stuff today that:
The job market stormed ahead in the March quarter, with unemployment tumbling to 6.2 per cent in the March quarter, compared with a revised 6.8 per cent in the December quarter.
In a rebound from bad figures in the December quarter, there were 38,000 more people employed this quarter – up 1.7 per cent, Statistics NZ said. That more than reversed the slump in the December quarter when jobs fell 23,000.
However, right down at the bottom of the article is the most telling result:
Canterbury’s unemployment rate is now down to 4.3 per cent. Excluding Canterbury from the national estimates shows a much weaker labour market, Statistics NZ said, with both the employment rate and labour force participation rate falling over the year.
This is good news for Cantebrians. However, I agree with Labour’s Grant Robertson that, “Disaster recovery is not a plan for jobs“:
The Government cannot continue to rely solely on the Canterbury rebuild to fuel job growth, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson, Grant Robertson.
“Today’s jobs data shows unemployment has fallen to 4.3% in Canterbury – driven by the earthquake rebuild.
“But excluding Canterbury, around the rest of the country unemployment is 6.9% – or an estimated 6.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis
“The truth is that the Government has no idea how to stimulate the economy and job growth. It is relying on the country’s worst natural disaster to drive job growth. That’s not sustainable and it’s not a credible economic plan in anyone’s book.
“In Auckland unemployment actually rose in the March quarter to 7.3%. In Northland it is 10%. In Wellington it is at 6.8%. The economy under John Key and Bill English is not creating jobs outside of the Canterbury rebuild.
And these latest statistics tell us nothing about how lwo NZ wages are, or about our appalling wealth/income gap. NZ doesn’t compare so well internationally with average income and the size of the income inequality gap, as of 2011.
In New-Zealand, the average person earns 18 601 USD a year, less than the OECD average of 22 387 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn five times as much as the bottom 20%.
And on income, NZ is just below Portugal and Greece; below Australia, Ireland and Finland.