163,000 People Unemployed
The Council of Trade Unions says it is a major failure of our economy that 163,000 people are unemployed.
Peter Conway, CTU Secretary says that "unemployment, particularly for long periods, is very damaging for those who are out of work and those effects spill over to their families and communities."
Statistics released today show that 163,000 are officially unemployed, with a further 111,000 looking for extra hours of work. The jobless number which includes those discouraged from seeking work is now 284,500 people.
"While the unemployment rate has fallen to 6.9 percent, the number actually employed has dropped also - the workforce participation rate shrank to its lowest level in almost nine years."
Peter Conway said that the 42,000 additional people opting out of the labour force is a major concern. It is not just about ageing but also the record exodus to Australia and despondency of those looking for work.
Peter Conway says "the CTU wants to see the Government do more to reduce unemployment by focusing on job creation - for example, they could review procurement policies so that New Zealand firms get a fair chance to bid for major manufacturing projects to create jobs here and support further funding for research and development, export marketing, and venture capital to create good jobs. Also there is a case to reintroduce community employment schemes."
Maori unemployment is 14.8 percent, Pacific unemployment is now up at 16 percent, and youth unemployment (15-19 years) has gone up to an unacceptable 30.9 percent. The female unemployment rate continued to rise, up 0.2 percentage points to 7.6 percent. This is the fourth consecutive increase in the female unemployment rate.
Peter Conway says "28.7% of those unemployed have been out of work more than 6 months and 12.3% of those out of work for more than a year compared to 8.4% a year ago."
Peter Conway also noted that we continue to do worse than in Australia. At December 2012, Australia's unemployment rate was 5.4%, up from 5.3% in November but down from 5.5% in September (seasonally adjusted). The September unemployment rate made it the longest run recorded (i.e. since 1986) that New Zealand has had a higher unemployment rate than Australia. The current run is the 15 quarters from June 2009 to December 2012. The previous longest was 13 quarters from March 1989 to March 1992 inclusive.