Unemployment up

Written By: - Date published: 2:27 pm, February 4th, 2015 - 40 comments
Categories: class war, jobs, unemployment, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Unemployment is up again. So to is the number in work, it’s a complex picture:

NZ unemployment rises to 5.7 per cent, jobs also rise

New Zealand unemployment jumped to 5.7 per cent in the December quarter from 5.4 per cent in the September quarter, as record levels of people joined the workforce.

Job numbers were up a better than expected 1.2 per cent in the December quarter, taking annual jobs growth to a strong rate of 3.5 per cent. …

Economists had expected the national unemployment rate to remain steady or fall mildly to about 5.3 per cent, even as job numbers grew, because of the current migration boom adding to the workforce.

That “job numbers” figure doesn’t tell us how many of those jobs are “mcjobs” – short term, low pay, zero hours, no secturity and the like. While the linked article argues that wages are rising in real terms, the rise of the working poor suggests that much is wrong with that picture. Grant Robertson also makes a good point:

We need a much better analysis of what kinds of jobs and conditions are out there in NZ, crude figures are not telling us enough.

40 comments on “Unemployment up”

  1. sweetd 1

    Grant Robertson has difficulty understanding the concept of ‘average’. And there are regions Grant where unemployment is below 5.7%. You are showing great skills from someone who wants to be the Finance Minister.

    • r0b 1.1

      Gosh, thanks for clearing that up for us.

    • I’m sure the 8% of the Northland working population who are dealing with some of the grossest inequality in NZ are thankful for your concern.

      • sweetd 1.2.1

        I am sure the Northland working population who are dealing with some of the grossest inequality in NZ are thankful for your your faux outrage.

        • McFlock 1.2.1.1

          You’re sure about that, are you?
          So did you base that on a focus group your contractors ran, or is it just in the C/T response script taped to your monitor?

  2. adam 2

    And it’s more smoke in mirrors.

    Under employment where are the figures?

    Zero hour contracts – in reality should be recorded as unemployed.

    Partners who support partners?

    These are figures which just are political drawn up – they mean nothing, except they mean nothing.

  3. Atiawa 3

    People don’t care much about the plight or misfortune of others any longer. The figures could be broken down into regions, age, gender, hours worked, seasonal, those no longer searching etc and it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference.
    We have moved from the “she’ll be right” mentality to “look after number one”, which is the underlying narrative we have being fed for 30 plus years.
    How can anyone have any sort of social conscience when so much of what is seen, heard and done is about the individual, the self.
    Couple this with a government whose primary economic policy is based around borrow & hope, which is then mirrored by society – credit card & mortgage debt, little wonder then that people are only interested in their own self interests and survival.

  4. coaster 4

    I would like the average wage to stop being used as the number most people are getting. The median wage is a better figure, but it still has flaws.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    Why do jobs at McDonalds not count? We can’t all be University Lecturers.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Is that what you think “McJobs” are? Why not read the definition supplied before you come across as English language challenged?

      • Paul 5.1.1

        He is a Gormless Fool

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1.1

          Better than sneering at people in menial jobs. Why are lefties such snobs?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.1

            Why are you so incapable of defending your corner without concocting absurd caricatures of people who don’t exist?

            What’s wrong with you?

            No-one sneered at workers – the sneer (if you can call it that) is for those exploiting workers using zero hours contracts and low pay. There are plenty of examples in the news all the time.

            i know, rather than confront that why don’t you make up another fatuous smear?

          • Stephanie Rodgers 5.1.1.1.2

            Nobody’s sneering at “people in menial jobs”. The word “McJobs” is a commentary on the kinds of low-paid, insecure, typically un-unionised jobs which are used by the right to pretend unemployment is A-OK, despite the fact they don’t pay the bills and provide no pathway to improving people’s lives.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1.1.2.1

              We shouldn’t count them because they’re not good enough, right?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Yes, that’s just what I’m talking about: cretinous rhetorical onanism that clearly demonstrates your bad faith and dishonesty.

                So good of you to establish your toxicity so clearly for all to see. Well done.

              • r0b

                GF is just trolling. (He used to be funnier than this, long (long) ago).

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Dear Jesus, please send the poor wingnuts some better lines.

                  • adam

                    The real problem with the rwnj One Anonymous Bloke is the crack they been sniffing – Key now seems to smelling his own and it’s spread.

  6. fisiani 6

    Job growth of 3.5% is really good. Wage rises well above inflation is really good. 80,000 extra jobs in 12 months is really good. Why all the negativity?

    • b waghorn 6.1

      When the people at the top of the pay scale get big payrises it lifts the average without making any difference to those on low wages .
      If shepherd has to explain it to you you’re not very bright are you.

  7. I think the measure they use for ’employed’ (working at least one hour per week) was probably OK back before the rise of zero-hour contracts, but since then we don’t really know what proportion of the ’employed’ are actually not employed in any real sense of the word. We don’t from these overall figures, anyway.

    • b waghorn 7.1

      I had a niece hired on a zero hours contract in a startup shop in Taumarunui in 6 weeks of waiting by the phone she had done about 10 hours work. She’s moved on now but I’m guessing she would of been classed as in work then.

      • crashcart 7.1.1

        I also wonder how many people are counted multiple times. I had number of my family who use to work for temping firms. They would have no assurance of work so they would sign up with multiple firms. They could have no work earning no money and be counted mutiple times in the employment figures.

        Of course all these temp jobs that cost the company nothing to create show up as job growth as well. “Look at me I just made 10 jobs. Sure the people in those jobs are not working and not getting paid but dammit if I didn’t do my part to improve the economy.”

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    We need a much better analysis of what kinds of jobs and conditions are out there in NZ, crude figures are not telling us enough.

    The increase in service jobs that we’ve been seeing in the developed world over the last few decades is, IMO, an indication of stagnation within the economy. Critical jobs such as manufacturing and R&D has been off-shored to ‘cheaper’ countries leaving a lot of people with no hope of anything else. The rich see the service sector with its low wages and low setup costs as an easy way to increase income without the massive outlay and risk that comes with manufacturing and R&D. Individuals just don’t have the resources available to do anything else and they no longer have access to high paying jobs.

    We need more than just a breakdown of what jobs are out there but a full analysis what jobs people are interested in, what they’re qualified for and what they’re actually doing. Chances are that, for most people, they don’t match up.

  9. Colonial Rawshark 9

    250,000 people unemployed and under employed suggests that we are underspending into the economy by about $4B annually.

    If a Labour govt is determined to reduce overall NZ foreign debt it will never be able to reduce unemployment because reducing foreign debt depletes money out of the NZ economy as that debt is paid back.

    • Sacha 9.1

      You can reduce unemployment and also make owners reduce dividends, rents, etc. Net private debt unaffected.

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.1

        I do not think so. If you somehow force corporates and SMEs into a situation where they suffer reduced dividends and profits, they will immediately cut staff, in order to restore profitability.

        Also remember when an SME owner faces reduced family income they will also not spend as much at local shops, cafes and restaurants.

        To counter this, the public sector needs to be prepared to step in and create significant employment and spending as well.

        Bottom line is that you cannot create more jobs unless you somehow push more money into economic circulation, and lots of it.

        • Sacha 9.1.1.1

          Wasn’t someone just complaining about Labour’s focus on SMEs? It’s possible to craft policy to target larger businesses, property speculators, etc. And you can use the same approach as English is applying to govt – keep $ value same, and let inflation provide the result ( in his case, reduced size of govt in economy but equally possible, the profit raked into private pockets).

  10. The Chairman 10

    Something for Labour to ponder:

    Unemployment is a void largely due to the market’s inability to provide a sufficient amount of jobs.

    This presents another opportunity (like the housing shortage) for Labour to fill this market void in a similar hands on manner.

    Labour could propose to do a white paper, identifying market potential investment opportunities to create new SOEs, hence, create new jobs.

    Their focus should be on exports, growing the sector, hence our national wealth while utilizing resources from the smaller regions (thus, creating jobs in those smaller regions) along with larger cities.

    Returns generated from these new SOEs would broaden and increase Government revenue streams, which could then offset tax cuts going forward. Therefore, also helping to secure and win over right and center support for such a move.

    Moreover, the more the sate participates in the market (filling market voids – not intruding and stepping on market players toes) the more influence they have over incomes and ability to ensure a living wage.

    Unfortunately, Labour have overlooked this opportunity and seek to make SMEs the engine room for employment growth (highlighted in their state of the nation speech).

    Therefore, they are missing an opportunity to win over more votes by remaining left and implementing another hands on solution, similar to their housing proposal which was widely welcomed across the political spectrum.

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.1

      Good ideas. Also Labour needs to invest billions in infrastructure and systems transition to a self sufficient low carbon economy. That’s a lot of jobs there as well.

      In the old days you would plant a few forests, build a railway, construct twenty thousand fashionable state houses.

      • The Chairman 10.1.1

        Thanks. And yes, it provides the opportunity for the Government to invest, help shape and directly capitalize from that transition.

  11. mac1 11

    I’ve just read the Stuff announcement on the Businessday page about the latest unemployment news.

    Positive news ‘stormed up’, ‘boomed’, at record levels’, ‘better than expected’ and negative news ‘rose slightly’, ‘eased’ or ‘dipped’.

    Interesting use of words by a journalist to put a positive spin on a rise in unemployment.

    By the way, isn’t this meant to be a time of year when employment is traditionally higher and a rise in unemployment does not augur well for the seasonal down turn? ?

  12. sabine 12

    i sometimes wonder if these fighters of the 101st keyboard brigades send in by national are on a 0 hour contract paying minimum wage with no benefit or if they are under a contract with no benefits, or maybe its a seasonal thing that only lasts for about 2 – 3 month and then they need replacing because they can’t swallow the bs anymore.

    Hmmmm, would they show in the unemployment statistics as under employed and would they then show in the WINZ stats for receiving social welfare to make ends meet? After all on minimum wage without guaranteed hours one needs a second/third job or a top up by WINZ incl. an accomodation benefits.

  13. NZJester 13

    The unemployment rate is falling a little in the Hastings/Napier area right now. But wait till later in the year and it will make a sudden rise again.
    Seasonal employment in a lot of regions is what is lowering some of the figures in a lot of areas.

  14. Tracey 14

    here is the thing about Unemployment/Employment statistics.

    I am not registered as unemployed. I am however significantly reduced in my earnings compared to previous times in my life. I am maybe making $500 to $1000 a month at the moment depending on the month.

    Yesterday I was asked to apply for a job and interview today. The job has been advertised. It is a new position. It will count amongst statistics of jobs created. BUT if I were to be offered it and accept, unemployment statistics would not alter one jot.

  15. The Chairman 15

    Is Labour’s proposal to make small businesses the engine room of job growth a bet on the wrong horse?

    Some points to ponder:

    Although 584,000 people (30% of the workforce) are employed in enterprises with fewer than 20 people, 326,000 small businesses have no employees. 

    Thats 69% of all firms in NZ .

    Moreover, despite going through the global boom and bust, the total number of employees in New Zealand businesses with fewer than 20 people has not changed noticeably over the past decade. 

    In contrast, there has been significant growth in employment in larger firms.

    Small businesses tend to have higher worker turnover rates than larger firms. 

    The ability of businesses to enter overseas markets is critical as it enables New Zealand businesses to access larger markets.

    Moreover, exports are what grow a nations wealth.

    Over 75 per cent of all firms have never generated overseas income.

    The level of international engagement is positively associated with firm size. 

    This is consistent with most small businesses reporting that they either cannot or are not interested in exporting.

    Innovation is key to productivity growth, which dictates income levels and living standards.

    Small firms innovate less than large firms.

    Small businesses have higher birth and death rates than larger firms and size has distinct effects on survival. 

    http://bit.ly/1DfqK3T

    Thoughts?

    • The Chairman 15.1

      The question for Labour is, how will their proposal turn this around and result in not only more jobs but also greater national wealth?

  16. The Chairman 16

    For the voice of the left, it seems rather silent in here.

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