Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Jobs up, jobless down?

Jobs up, jobless down?

Two articles in the Dominion Post today (7 October) seem to suggest that unemployment was on it’s way down and that the country was witnessing a growth in jobs,

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The article states that “more than 4000 people came off the unemployment benefit and more than 2200 youths came off welfare, including 351 youths who came the unemployment benefit.”

However, the article continues with this,  “Bennett said the total number of people on welfare remained high, rising by 0.1 per cent in September to 328,496.”

So, the reality is that a certain number of those 4,000 people who   “ came off the unemployment benefit ”   may well have moved on to another benefit? Because that is what Bennett is saying, quite clearly,  ” the total number of people on welfare … [rose] by 0.1 per cent in September to 328,496 “.

The article also does not state where those 2200 youths who “came off welfare  ” went. Did they find employment? Is is full time or part time – and if the latter, are their wages still being subsidised by WINZ? Have they move “side ways” onto another benefit? Are they in training/education, or one of WINZ’s many, ultimately-futile “training” programmes?

The story simply does not enlighten us.

Paula Bennett’s comment here may be somewhat less-than-helpful,

Job hunting isn’t easy, but it’s fair to say that if you’re not looking, you won’t find a job…”

Thank you, Paula, you’re a real fountain of wisdom.

The second Dominion Post article is also vague and contradictory,

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Source

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The article states “SEEK Employment Index rose half a per cent in the last month, showing the new jobs listed on the employment website have grown faster than job applications.”

But then continues with “when seasonally adjusted, the index actually fell by 1.1 per cent in September…”.

It also seems bizarre to read that, “The five most sought category of employees in September were accounting, government and defence, healthcare and medical; engineering and automotive trades.

“Government and defence”?

This seems clearly at odds with current government  policy of curring back the civil service. The military and other government sectors have lost at least 2000 workers, with more job losses planned.

The above articles may sound optimistic, but redundancies are still hitting our economy and impacting on society,

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The question that springs to mind is that if the drop in unemployed is real – is it due to new jobs or new job vacancies? The difference may seem subtle, but is very real. New jobs are an indicator that the economy is beginning to grow again.

Job vacancies are existing jobs that have been vacated for one reason or another, and are being replaced. It is sometimes referred to as “churn“.

With current wages low and not keeping pace with inflation and the recent increase in gst, it is hardly surprising that most New Zealanders have had the lowest wage increases in a decade,

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By contrast, we had somewhat more generous wage increases during the previous, unfairly-maligned, Labour Government,

Wage growth at a record high

Annual wage growth in the adjusted LCI (which measures changes in pay rates for a fixed set of jobs and excludes performance related pay increases) remained steady at 3.4% in the March 2008 quarter.  This is the equal highest rate recorded since the LCI began in 1992 matching the annual increase for the December 2007 year.

The unadjusted LCI (which includes performance related pay increases) shows annual wage growth of 5.4% in the March 2008 quarter, up from 5.0% at December 2007.
Annual wage growth in the QES (which includes performance related pay increases and is affected by the composition of employment) increased to 4.6% for the year to March 2008, up from 4.1% in the previous quarter.Source

Good times, eh, my fellow New Zealanders?

Despite John Key’s priority-pledge to raise wages – and not just by 38 cents!!! – we now have  a record flight of New Zealanders moving to Australia – 3300!

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As Ms Visser said,

It’s definitely a wake-up call – with 20 per cent of our workforce looking to leave at any one time it’s a scary thought.

Which indicates that this current government has done very little of practical value to motivate New Zealanders to stay and help build our own economy. Two tax cuts have certainly not worked the “magic” that Key, English, et al, had hoped.

Which suggests that Bill English’s May 2011 Budget statement, promising 170,000 new jobs may be a tad over-optimistic.,

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I guess the ‘moral’ of this piece is two-fold,

  1. Be cautious about  media stories that do not present the full story. A bit of ‘digging’ soon yields a fuller picture.
  2. Be cautious about politicians who promise you the world (you’ll be the one paying for it).

And I’ll finish this piece with a message from our Prime Minister, John Key,

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"The billboard also highlights Labour's failure to stem the tide of people voting with their feet and leaving New Zealand." - John Key, 1 Sept 2008

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Additional reading

Inflation outpaces income growth

Bill English: Focus on Finance – Budget 2011

Labour Market Reports – Archive Wage Growth – March  2008 Quarter

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  1. Deborah Kean
    7 October 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I have some work! (Three weeks of it…) and have been informed that no permanent language teaching gig lies ahead in my future, because his school – and all others are skating on thin ice! Oh yes, things are improving all right….

  2. fmacskasy
    7 October 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Deborah Kean :

    I have some work! (Three weeks of it…) and have been informed that no permanent language teaching gig lies ahead in my future, because his school – and all others are skating on thin ice! Oh yes, things are improving all right….

    I suspect, Debbie, that more public feedback would probably yield similar situations to yours. Taken in isolation, the stories above have no context; no relevance; and are little more than “factoids”.

    But pieced together, and taken in context, and I think we see a more accurate picture forming.

    I hope something comes up for you in future… 🙂

    • Deborah Kean
      7 October 2011 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks for your hopes, Frank! I am well fed-up with relieving, and this school like almost all others, offers only short term relieving (the odd day) or longer term (three weeks because someone broke her foot.)
      SEEK has categories for Part time, Full time, casual/vacation and contract/temp. You can guess which category has the most vacancies!

  3. Red
    11 October 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Deborah Kean :

    Thanks for your hopes, Frank! I am well fed-up with relieving, and this school like almost all others, offers only short term relieving (the odd day) or longer term (three weeks because someone broke her foot.)
    SEEK has categories for Part time, Full time, casual/vacation and contract/temp. You can guess which category has the most vacancies!

    I hope things turmn out well for you Debbie. Things aren’t as bad for me and my partner but we’re still thinking seriously about going to Australia. I have family tyhere and they keep saying we should move over. I have to admit I’m tempted. I’m so sick of this government and the way they help their rich mates but do sweet FA for the rest of us.

    If Key gets back in we’re off

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