The employment stats

February 6th, 2009 at 1:42 pm by David Farrar

There were some curious aspects to yesterday’s Household Labour Force Survey statistics. Key findings were:

  • Total employment up 20,000 being 12,000 men and 8,000 women
  • Total up 11,000 being 3,000 men and 6,000 women (is rounded)
  • Total labour force up 31,000 being 16,000 more men and 15,000 more women.
  • So around equal numbers of men and women have entered the labour force, but more men have found jobs, hence male unemployment rises only 0.2% and female unemployment 0.6%
  • Number of weekly hours worked dropped 1,390,000 – equal to 35,000 FTEs
  • Underemployment (those employed but wanting more hours) rose from 81,000 to 97,000
  • NZ’s unemployment rate of 4.6% is 10th= in OECD of 27. In 2005 we were 1st.

The trend towards more people working less hours is good, in terms of spreading the pain around. And also good more people seeking work. But the drop off in hours worked is scary – equal to 35,000 less people in work – in just one quarter.

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10 Responses to “The employment stats”

  1. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    “But the drop off in hours worked is scary – equal to 35,000 less people in work – in just one quarter.”

    Absolutely, and it hasn’t even started yet.

    One economist likened the GFC to the road runner cartoon where they run out over the cliff then hang there for a second or two before they plunge. That’s where we are now. Hanging. Just wait for this year to pan out. It will be horrendous.

    Which makes my suggestion to lower the tax rate on redundancy payments from the current 39% to somewhere around 5% where it used to be, all the more urgent.

    Please DPF, use your contacts to transmit this suggestion to the right ears.

    It’s a win-win. For a minimal hit on the Consolidated Fund, you get a huge political boost.

    [DPF: The problem is if you do that, you will get people getting made redundant to become consultants and pocketing the tax difference]

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  2. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Yes things are scary,very. Quite right Reid we are like the road runner hanging over the cliff, we should be organising a mattress at the bottom of the cliff why we still have a bit of time. I know the government is trying it’s best but I really think steps taken need to become more drastic. We are in an enviable position in New Zealand. We produce enough food to feed ourselves, we could produce enough bio-diesel or gas to power the machinery needed for both agriculture, emergency services and security. We have a relatively stable country but if needed we do have an army that could help in civil order. Yes things would still be tough but we would survive. I can’t see the future coming right any time soon, if I was JK I would be putting together my War cabinet now and making emergency plans while the people still have full stomachs. Sorry for been so negative.

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  3. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    [DPF: The problem is if you do that, you will get people getting made redundant to become consultants and pocketing the tax difference]

    In normal times DPF, that’s an argument but these coming times aren’t normal and different rules need to apply. If anyone raised that during a discussion of this matter I’d respond that they weren’t recognizing the actual reality.

    It’s a fact right now that most employers including mine have already implemented recruitment freezes across the board and they are just now starting on redundancy rounds. There is a limited window of opportunity for this policy to make a significant difference and the time to act is now, today. Tomorrow is too late. Six months from now is way too late.

    The real issue is, once someone is made redundant today, there is absolutely nothing to go on to. There are no new jobs and there won’t be for this entire year. I saw on the news last night a recruitment consultant saying there are now huge numbers of applicants for every vacancy and very senior well qualified people are applying for very junior jobs.

    This is the writing on the wall and it’s perfectly obvious what it’s saying. As I said in my first post, it hasn’t even started in NZ yet. We are still in suspended animation, waiting for gravity to kick in. It’s that serious and mark my words, a 5% rate on redundancy payments will buy the Nats an unbelievable amount of goodwill because every single cent of money is going to become much more valuable in 2009 than it was in 2008.

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  4. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Sorry for been so negative.

    That’s the thing isn’t it, ssb. You start talking about things like this and the automatic reaction from most people is: don’t be so negative, take the glass-half-full attitude.

    My response to those comments is that I’m not being negative, I’m being realistic. If a freight train is heading towards me, I want to look at it so I know where it is. If someone wants to shut their eyes and pretend it’s not there, that to me is utterly crazy.

    I take the Tony Robbins approach to this. He says that positive thinking is nuts and I agree. According to Tony, positive thinking is all about pretending there are no weeds in your garden. He says that’s crazy and he’s right. The correct approach according to him, is to recognise there are weeds in your garden but not to get all excited or depressed about it. Simply pull them up and move on. This approach is what I use because it makes good sense and over the years it has always kept me feeling fine whatever life throws at me while at the same time, I have no rose tinted glasses either. The best of both worlds. My glass is always half-full and furthermore, I know exactly how much is in fact, in it.

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  5. GN (18 comments) says:

    If John Key really wanted to save the economy he would tell his synchophantic neo-liberal National followers to to get stuffed, fire Bill English, and make Roger Douglas Minister of finance. Anything else is pissing in the wind- which is what he is doing right now. Hes got just under three years to do it but the clock is ticking. Either way he will probably be a one termer given the economy- so he may as well do something useful.

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  6. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Great opportunity to really make a difference. It is going to get worse and while the spin doctors that were going to be sacked have managed to massage the numbers this time the next set will be so bad that they will not be able to.
    I’ve suggested that Govt. send $50,000 to all school boards for school maintenance work. Good use of money, immediate action, not so costly as GST and PAYE would arrive back in no time and all those frustrations that have built up around the lack of money for this work could begin to be satisfied.

    Doesn’t need many rules, doesn’t need a dept. of wankers in Wgtn. and will work to assist many schools and families and businesses and communities. Immediately.

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  7. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Another great idea, Viking2.

    You’re on fire.

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  8. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    GN , bloody hell, there is a bloody good chance of a trade war hitting us and you want bloody Douglas in to give away more of our bloody assets.
    Think an overseas owner will give a flying fuck about keeping things going ?

    Christ at the moment I’m happy that Labour got the rail back, for there is a bloody good chance we may need it.
    It takes time to convert trucks over to run on LPG or oil we grow ourselves.
    Remember if other countries do not buy from us we cannot get minor things like diesel, for we will not have the currency they want.

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  9. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Now is a good time to drop income tax.. Plus many other taxes..

    Bring in a Financial Transaction Tax. Say 15% to see how it plays out and then drop it when the figures are seen.

    It is only G.S.T. by another name. You spend .. You pay.

    But with ” NO ” claw back..

    Company tax at 15% for now .. To be dropped completely when figures come in.

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  10. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Our unemployment figures are utterly bogus. We could double unemployment overnight if we made all the sickness benefits have a real doctors examination on Monday.

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