276,000 jobless, of which 168,000 officially unemployed. 115,000 more underemployed.
Big numbers, but remember that the unemployed aren’t a static group being added to every day as the Key Government sits on its hands. In fact there’s a continual churn of people into unemployment and into work much larger than the net increase.
When Paula Bennett is criticised about the rising number of people on the dole she regularly retorts by mentioning the number of people coming off the dole. For example an interviewer will say ‘the number of people on the dole rose by another 3,000 last month, aren’t you a complete failure?’ and Bennett replies ‘well, actually it’s kind of not so bad because 5,000 people came off the dole last month’. Of course the 3,000 is the net figure*. If 5,000 came off the dole that means 8,000 went on to it.
In the December Quarter, unemployment rose by 15,000 but 83,000 of the unemployed had not been unemployed in the previous quarter (roughly). That means 68,000 unemployed (nearly half) had moved into work in the quarter and 83,000 had become unemployed.
Two conclusions from this:
Joblessness is experienced by a few wider portion of the population than appears when you look at the bland joblessness numbers. There are 276,000 now but it’s likely that more than twice that number have experienced joblessness during the recession.
The number of unemployed moving into work and the short average duration of the unemployed in unemployment shows that they are not bludgers. People want to work. Before the recession came and stuffed everything up, people who are unemployed now were happily working.
That’s backed up by a graph from NZIER [not online] that shows the number of applicants per job has doubled as unemployed people desperately seek work.
Unemployment is not the fault of the unemployed, it is the fault of the international capitalist system that caused the crisis and the Key Government that has sat on its hands and done nothing about it
*[I can imagine the pain of the officials trying to explain net increases to Bennett. Official: ‘if you have the private file of five beneficiaries and I give you three more and take away two, the net increase is one’. Bennett: ‘and now I leak them to the Dompost?’ 🙂 ] [statistics from Stats Infoshare]