Youth Unemployment

The latest HLFS has some moderately good news in it.

  • 30,000 more jobs in the last quarter
  • 3,000 fewer unemployed
  • rate drops to 6.6%
  • NZ unemployment rate now 11th lowest of 34 in the OECD

However unemployment amongst under 20 year olds remains high – up from 25.5% to 27.5%. 6,000 fewer teenagers were in employment.

jacinda Ardern has said:

“Youth unemployment has now hit 27 percent for those aged 15-19; more than four times the average unemployment rate. We’ve reached crisis point, with more young people looking for work now than we have ever seen on record before,” Jacinda Ardern said.

It is a crisis, but one created by Labour (and not changed by National). Labour made it illegal for a teenager to accept a job for less than the adult minimum wage. They abolished the lower minimum wage for youth.

A 16 year old generally has no skills, no experience and lives at home. They would love to be able to earn a bit of money for say $10/hour. But Labour has priced them off the market. If an employer has a choice of an experienced 25 year old or a novice 16 year old, of course they will not choose the 16 year old.

The fact that teenage unemployment levels are increasing, while the overall unemployment level is falling, shows that getting rid of the youth minimum wage was a disaster for our teenagers. They deserve the chance to gain employment, and National should pledge to reintroduce a lower minimum wage for youth.

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