John Key is still claiming credit for the drop in the number of people on the unemployment benefit that occurs every October and November due to seasonal jobs that disappear after Christmas.
In his press conference today Key said that the number of people on the dole had fallen to 58,500, a 300-odd drop and the ninth weekly drop in a row.
Key even went to the lengths of pointing out that Treasury’s downside forecast for this point was 85,000 on the dole. This, he claimed, meant the government had done as excellent job of containing unemployment. Fortunately, one of the journos was sharp enough to ask him what Treasury’s upside prediction had been. Key looked a little startled and rumaged through his papers. He wouldn’t provide the upside number, but was forced to concede the Treasury’s main forecast was for 66,000, not too far out from reality.
A sixth form stats student could have told you there was likely to be a drop in unemployment these last couple of months. It happens every year (when the journos asked Key about seasonal effect he mumbled something incoherent). In fact, this is a smaller than usual seasonal fall – just 2.6% from end of September to end of November, when the average drop for the same period over the previous 9 years was 5.2%.
Crediting a government for a seasonal effect is silly. Next, National be taking credit for lower spot power prices when it rains and fills the hydro lakes.