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Unemployment up. Wages flat. What recovery?

CTU Media Release

7 August 2013

Unemployment up. Wages flat. What recovery?

The Council of Trade Unions says there is no joy for workers in the statistics out today on wages and employment.

Unemployment is up to 6.4 percent and wages are flat.

The Quarterly Employment Survey, Household Labour Force Survey and Labour Cost Index were released in a package today.

Peter Conway, CTU Secretary says “with 153,000 people unemployed, a total of 245,400 jobless and 63,900 workers wanting extra hours of work, it is very tough time to be looking for work”.

He says this is 5 years on from the global financial crisis and is clear evidence that the Government simply has not made jobs a priority.

Māori unemployment is 12.8 percent and Pacific unemployment has increased to 16.3 percent. Unemployment for those aged 20-24 is at 11.1 percent and for those aged 25-29 it has increased to 8.3 percent. And the rise in employment over the last quarter is entirely from an increase in male employment.

Statistics NZ say that wage growth has continued to ease. Peter Conway said “wages are up only by 1.7 percent. And the median increase for those who got a wage increase in the last year was only 2.7 percent, the lowest increase since 2001. In the last year 45 percent of employees did not receive a pay increase. And the gender pay gap at 13.24 percent for the average ordinary time wage remains higher than it was a year ago.”

“We need a renewed focus on decent jobs for workers. It is no point saying that the economy is slowly picking up if the benefits are not flowing through to wages and jobs. Our wages remain 34 percent lower than in Australia yet the Government has introduced legislation that will reduce wages for Kiwi workers even more”.

Peter Conway said that unions stand for fairness at work and that means decent jobs, fair wages and investment in skills.

“Much more could be done to boost employment through government procurement, community employment schemes, and training to ensure that local people are supported to meet the skill requirements of available jobs.”


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