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One in ten Kiwis jobless or underemployed

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, November 5th, 2010 - 8 comments
Categories: jobs, unemployment - Tags:

At 6.4% unemployment appears to be falling, slowly. But it also appears to be above where it was at the start of the year, when it supposedly plunged to 6.0%. Economists are viewing the Statistics NZ numbers sceptically because they are fluctuating wildly. Whatever precisely is happening, with one in ten working age Kiwis unable to get work, it’s not time for dancing in the streets.

It looks like there’s something wrong with the adjustments that are made to the seasonally-adjusted unemployment series (that’s the one you see in the headlines). It has jumped around like mad the last year: 7.1%, 6.0%, 6.9%, 6.4%. There have been significant revisions of past numbers each quarter. All of which is causing economists to view the numbers with some suspicion.

But the consensus, which matches with the trend series, is that unemployment peaked earlier this year and is edging down at about 0.1-0.2% per quarter. Hardly breakneck speed considering it rose 2.5% in National’s first year. We’ll be waiting four years just to undo that damage at this rate.

Put it another way: the number of unemployed doubled in less than two years, with about 80,000 more Kiwis out of work. Over the past six months, the number of extra unemployed is down about 10,000.

Here is a graph of the different types of work need stacked on top of each other – you’ve the officially unemployed (people on the dole are a sub-set of this), then the jobless (all those who would take a job if one were offered to them, including those who have given up actively looking), finally on top are the underemployed who want more hours than they have:

When 350,000 of us, over 10% of the working age population, want work but can’t get it, it’s not exactly time for dancing in the streets. What we need is a government that gives a crap and has a plan.

8 comments on “One in ten Kiwis jobless or underemployed”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    No one will believe this latest sharp drop in unemployment statistics – mainly because most of us all know several people, friends and family who are unemployed, or are looking for more work, or who have had to take **** jobs that they are overqualified for.

    In other words, there is an increasing divergence between what people are experiencing in reality, and what they are being told on the news services that reality is.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      when those numbers are all over the place, it’s impossible to know what’s really going on underneath. Stats needs to sort it out.

    • M 1.2

      Yes CV, maybe Statistics should be renamed Pravda.

    • Vicky32 1.3

      The sad thing is I would take one of those “**** jobs that they are overqualified for” if it were offered, which is bad for me and for the people who are qualified just for that job! I also have two nieces, a nephew and at least half a dozen friends who are unemployed. I am one of the ‘official’ unemployed but I am also one of those who has given up – WINZ had jolly well better not find that out or I’m toast.

  2. Bored 2

    Actually, I dont give a lot of credence to whatever Labour or National in their role as managers of the economy have done in the last 20 years for employment. Both have left it to the market. We might find to track the number of employed it is better to track the stock market indices, the GDP numbers etc…I suspect but should do the analysis.

    What is more scary is that despite all of the news of unsustainable debt created with the bail outs of the subprime fiasco, and all of the subsequent proof of the worthlessness of the toxic assets the investors of the world still place their faith in the markets. The indices on Wall Street are heading steadily up to where they were before the crash, full ahead and damn the torpedoes. It looks predictable that the moment somebody (and its up in the air at the moment) refuses to catch and take ownership of the toxic assets the whole market will crash. This has been the ultimate suckers rally, then the real pain will begin. And it cant be far off. that will be when unemployment really takes off. Until then make hay and pay off debt.

    • M 2.1

      Yes, this will be the last suckers’ rally before most are immolated financially. Your advice to make hay and pay off debt even if it sounds boring is the best possible insurance there is.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        pay off debt even if it sounds boring is the best possible insurance there is.

        And this is why we are in for a rough year (or five) ahead. Global aggregate demand is toast.

  3. Could someone with better drawing ability than me perhaps create this and post it to Paula Bennett so perhaps she understands?

    Little stick figure working at desk = little stick figure criminal behind vertical bars Xed out = little stick figure victim weeping also Xed out = little stick figure Judith Collins stamping “cancelled” on order for new prison = little stick figure John Key throwing money to crowd while smiling and waving.

    Because if the blithe, vacant smile with which she greets all such news is not due to incomprehension, then it’s she who deserves to be locked up.

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