For people looking for work, it still feels like recession
Regardless of the rise of 0.8% in GDP for the three months to June, and some good news, particularly in manufacturing, employment conditions remain hard. Unemployment in March was not far below its peak and the number of people wanting more hours of work was rising rather than falling. Wages are not keeping up with CPI inflation - with or without the GST increase - and there are increasing signs of poverty.
CTU Economist, Bill Rosenberg said "the high unemployment rate is yet to fall significantly, and if the rebuilding of Christchurch is delayed it is hard to see where many more jobs will come from."
"It is good to see manufacturing expanding in the March quarter, but its export activities to all but Australia are at constant risk from the high exchange rate."
"There were still 155,000 people out of work in March - only 7,000 below the peak in December 2009 in seasonally adjusted terms. With unemployment still at 6.6 percent, for many people looking for work, this last 18 months has been the worst of the recession, not the end of the recession."
In actual numbers, unemployment was at its highest at 166,700 people out of work in March this year, and the unemployment rate 7.0 percent. There were 271,400 people looking for work on the wider measure of joblessness - only 4,500 below its peak in December 2009, having risen over the past year.
The number of hours worked per week in the March quarter was lower than it was in June last year in seasonally adjusted terms, with a sharp dip in hours per employee in March, despite part-time employment falling.
"We remain concerned that the government has cut back stimulus spending too quickly. Economic news is still very patchy and while there are welcome signs of recovery, there is also still much to be concerned about, especially for working people," said Rosenberg.