Unemployment apples and oranges

Written By: - Date published: 1:11 pm, November 2nd, 2016 - 27 comments
Categories: employment, jobs, Unions, wages - Tags: ,

A complex headline in The Herald:

NZ jobless rate falls below 5 per cent for first time since 2008, wage inflation muted

New Zealand’s unemployment rate fell below 5 per cent for the first time since December 2008 as employers took on more staff than expected, although that didn’t spur wages to rise at a faster pace. …

A fall in the jobless rate is superficially good news. In May the rate had jumped to 5.7%, the fastest increase in 11 years. In August the government changed the way the rate is calculated, at the stroke of a pen 5.7% became 5.2%. So the claim that the rate is now at its lowest since 2008 is not exactly comparing apples with apples.

Part of the fall is due to an increase in part-time, not full-time work.

As to the second element of the headline, “wage inflation” is what employers call pay rises. “Muted” means workers aren’t getting them. Once again much of the wage growth that did occurs was thanks to unions:

Public sector wages rose 0.7 per cent in the quarter, due largely to new collective agreements for nurses, primary teachers and police.

Plenty more stats in The Herald piece.

27 comments on “Unemployment apples and oranges”

  1. greywarshark 1

    Here are some notes I made on the statistics to get started on – i put them up on Open Mike earlier but they are useful here.
    Staticstics NZ
    (Median hourly earnings at June 2016 are still about 1% below June 2015.)
    There were more workers on full time (30) hours, and more hours being worked, and they pushed up the median earnings. But the chart shows that earnings are still at 2001-3 level apart from a high rise from 2005-2009 which was the time of the GFC crash.

    Also interesting is the lower rise in median weekly earnings of the South Island (2% to $880) to the North Island (7% to $944).

  2. Red 2

    Great news and stewardship of econmy by the government especially relative to other OECD nations, no matter what negative spin you want to put on it

  3. fisiani 3

    The Herald article is also on Stuff.

    The Left never admit good news. Dairy prices rise 20% – do not want to hear it.
    Housing boom – do not want to hear it.
    Highest employment rates ever -blah , blah blah Look at the official figures below for rises in FT jobs. Much more than PT jobs.

    The unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in the September 2016 quarter (from a revised 5.0 percent in the previous quarter), Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the December 2008 quarter. There were 3,000 fewer people unemployed than in the June 2016 quarter and 10,000 fewer over the year.

    “The number of people employed in New Zealand was up 35,000, or 1.4 percent, in the September 2016 quarter,” labour and income statistics manager Mark Gordon said. “This strong growth in employment, coupled with fewer unemployed people, pushed the unemployment rate below 5.0 percent for the first time in nearly eight years.”

    The working-age population increased by 24,000 people (0.7 percent) over the quarter, to reach 3,739,000.

    Changes in the last year are:

    144,000 more jobs (6.1% increase)
    106,000 more FT jobs and 39,000 more PT jobs
    9,000 fewer unemployed
    34,000 fewer not in labour force
    Labour force participation rate up from 68.4% to 70.1%
    Unemployment rate drops from 5.5% to 4.9%
    Number of hours worked up 6.7%
    Underutilisation rate down from 13.2% to 12.2%
    Also average weekly earnings up are 1.8% to $1,146 a week from $1,124. With 0.2% inflation this is a 1.6% real increase.

    The average hourly earnings are also up 1.8% from $29.31 to $29.84. Female earnings up 2.0% and male earnings 1.7%.

    • Stuart Munro 3.1

      Spurious math is no substitute for the quality of life kiwis enjoyed before Treasury liars became the go to measure of government performance. We remember better times and hearing their lies is like biting into a rotten fruit.

      The first step to improving any service is to find out what you are doing wrong – the Gnats close their ears instead, and chant their nonsense numbers and ‘rockstar economy’ while our economy founders under the crushing burden of their incontinent greed and corruption.

      NZ has become an Augean stables – it will be an Herculean task merely to correct this government’s mistakes, much less build a better future.

    • Siobhan 3.2

      Hear what exactly??…Housing going BOOM!!.
      Home ownership rates decreasing and the poorest people spending a bigger percentage of their income on housing, not to mention an ever increasing cost to the tax payer to provide housing/rent subsidies of $2 billion annually (that’s subsidies on 60 per cent of all rental properties) to prop up artificially high housing costs…that’s good news in your book??.



      The one thing Lefties and true conservatives can agree on…our housing situation is a slow moving train wreck.

    • Brian Smith 3.3

      fisi wants us to believe propaganda- how many of these figures can we actually believe? None! Neoliberals have had 30 years to find ways to cook the numbers. An obvious example is how they calculate the unemployment figures!

      More full-time jobs then part-time….Haha!

      Wage rates up? Yeah, right!

      Can we believe anything these thieves tell us?

      No mention of how many jobs are being taken by foreign student visa holders and we know what the housing boom is due to- let’s call it for what it is- money laundering from China.
      And while we’re on the subject, fisi, how about the huge numbers of parents of recent immigrants who collect a pension, gold card, and using social services (due to abandonment, homesickness).

      Globalisation was a con by the neoliberals to drive down wages and therefore reduce the bottom line- and increase profits- for ‘business’, the buzz word found everywhere, from bus shelters to local newspapers to hospitals and schools.

      Neoliberalism: Business before people.

    • rod 3.4

      The only people who will believe that load of old bollocks, are you Tory numties. Fisi

  4. greywarshark 4

    All the National Party shills turn up on our playground, and drop their lolly wrappers all over and mess up the place. What a pity they have so much time on their hands to come here and spread half-truths and misinformation.

  5. ropata 5

    “The real measure of success for the economy is whether it is delivering higher living standards and more opportunity for New Zealanders. What really matters to New Zealanders is the quality of life they can build for themselves and their families. Labour’s focus is on supporting a fair share in prosperity for more New Zealanders, sadly the National Party is more focused on the few at the top,” says Andrew Little.


  6. Michelle 6

    What is the point having a job when you can’t live of it part time work has increased under the gnats as has more casualization wake up people a man cant provide for his family anymore

  7. Justice T. McGovern 7

    Everyone knowns this BS government fiddles the lists to make themselves look better. Unemployment fiddling is just like waiting list fiddling. Our stupid, arrogant politicians need to be accountable.

  8. Infused 8

    AR will make anything sound bad.

  9. mauī 9

    I think people can judge now that the miracle propaganda that comes out doesn’t match what they see with their own eyes. You cannot unsee the escalating crime, homelessness, foodbank pressures in your local area, and it doesn’t look like the promised brighter future.

    • Red 9.1

      And the counter to your argument is that you only see what you want to see and if you go looking for negativity you will find it daily in a population of near 5m, likewise negativity sells as far as the media goes, don’t be fooled , lastly if you hang around with people and sites like this who are ideologically opposed to this government no matter what expect to be pretty down day after day All of this negativity does not reflect the great majority of kiwis view of thier lot, just your narrow circles, likewise just because people you come across agree with your views, a tip most them are just been polite to avoid an arguement, a bit not like not admitting in voting for trump

      • i haz cupcake 9.1.1

        Trump supporter? Utterly demented Red,

      • Muttonbird 9.1.2

        While the numbers around the top end of the economy appear to be up, so too are those around social ills at the bottom end. Violent and non-violent crime, homelessness, suicide, pressure on mental health services, etc. To ignore that part is callous.

        A good government has responsibility in both areas. This one is failing at that. You claim a ‘great majority of kiwis’ view their lot as positive. I’d modify that to a small majority of kiwis currently voting view their lot as positive.

  10. Mike 10

    Er, what? They backcalculated unemployment data to 2008 so it could be historically compared. But carry on with the conspiracy theories.

  11. Deepak 11

    Nice to hear that the unemployment count have come down..

  12. Richard@Down South 12

    I wonder how many people just gave up dealing with WINZ

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