Unemployment drops 0.6%

May 9th, 2013 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

The latest quarterly Household Labour Force Survey is here. The number of people in work had the largest increase since the started in 1986. Key stats:

  • 2,234,000 people in work, up 38,000 from December.
  • Unemployed down from 161,000 to 146,000
  • rate down from 6.8% to 6.2%
  • Under 20 unemployment rate down from 30.9% to 25.6%
  • Maori unemployment rate down from 14.8% to 13.9%
  • Manufacturing jobs up by 6,600 (recall the “crisis in manufacturing” manufactured by the left)
  • Total hours worked up 3.2% in the quarter
  • NZ’s unemployment rate now puts it in 11th= out of 34 OECD countries, so in the top third. the average rate is 8.0%

Now the HLFS does bounce around a lot, but the strength shown here is consistent with other data. It is very easy to focus on the high profile job losses, and miss all the areas where jobs are being created. An employer losing 100 jobs is a big story but 10 employers taking on 10 more staff each flies under the radar.

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53 Responses to “Unemployment drops 0.6%”

  1. sparky (235 comments) says:

    This is fantastic news.

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  2. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    So much for the manufacturing crisis. This is very important as it undermines the Labour/Green argument that we need to devalue our dollar and print money to create jobs. Clearly National’s management of the economy is working. I expect we could see some improvement in the polls soon.

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  3. radvad (767 comments) says:

    Expect this news be given the same emphasis on TV News as when they announce job losses. YEAH RIGHT

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  4. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Great news, I really hope it continues on (but hard to read to much into it until there is a trend). There are alot of great signs for NZ and we need it to be pumping this time next year so Labour/Greens get spanked at the election.

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  5. dishy (248 comments) says:

    The clowns on The Standard will, if they can bring themselves to comment on this, turn it into bad news. They’re very clever like that.

    If only this was “real news”, unlike the palaver over Gilmore, or Key’s flippant comment on Wellington (which stories, between them, accounted for most of the first two pages of yesterday’s Dominion Post, while the asset sales petition FAIL rated only a relatively brief mention on page 5).

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  6. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    If the polls don’t show a strong swing back the National on the back of the disgusting NZ Power prank and what seems to be continuous positive indicators on the wider economy, I would be surprised. However, just to contradict myself, I wouldn’t be surprised given some who vote left of centre. It is those in the centre who swing who should be seeing the light that a ‘steady as she goes macro view’ was the only way to work our way through this. Bloody good stuff by our government. I am still very keen to see a little more mongrel in the response to the idiotic policies that are being presented though. Get those press secretaries working over time!!

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  7. MD (62 comments) says:

    Yes, this is really good (unless you are one of the 6%). Great to see Maori and Youth unemployment coming down much faster. But with 25% of Youth unemployed (other than those still studying), we’ve got a crisis there and unfortunately Government policy is much to blame. A minimum wage of $13.75 an hour (or even $11 p.h.) is way too high for unskilled youth, and that’s why they fare so badly in the statistics (particularly unskilled Maori Youth). They would be far better off working at $8 p.h. than not working at $13.75. this situation does not help anyone.

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  8. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    We still pay New Zealaders to sit on their backsides doing nothing and bring in labour from overseas to pick apples and Kiwifruit,harvest grapes and milk cows.
    While there is work available in New Zealand no one should be receiving an unemployment benefit!!!!!

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  9. Fox (206 comments) says:

    » Under 20 unemployment rate down from 30.9% to 25.6%

    This is HUGE, and on the surface seems to be a ringing endorsement of the Government’s ‘new entrants rate’.

    However, what will be interesting though is whether or not employers decide to ‘recycle’ their new entrants before the 200 hour / 3 month limit kicks in.
    Should this turn out not to be the case, then I think it would be safe to say National has won the debate on this one, and thus time for Labour / Greens to move on.

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  10. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    ‘Manufacturing jobs up by 6,600 (recall the “crisis in manufacturing” manufactured by the left)’

    The number of people employed by manufacturing has been steadily dropping over the last few years, for example there were 200,000 employed in manufacturing in the June 2010 survey and that figure is now only 171,000, so to pretend nothing is wrong with manufacturing is short sighted.

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  11. Manolo (13,838 comments) says:

    This can only be construed as very good news.

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  12. wally (65 comments) says:

    radvad (473) Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 12:50 pm
    Expect this news be given the same emphasis on TV News as when they announce job losses. YEAH RIGHT

    Like the ChCh Press this morning. Shock horror front page article about how 120 jobs somewhere were going. If you looked further down the article it mentioned that 15,000 new jobs have been created in ChCh in the last year. Why does the MSM have this view that negative news sells?

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  13. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    YesWeDid,

    Depends on your take on manufacturing in general really. Yes, we have seen a reduction over the last decade (none of this last few years shit, it started LONG before 2008) but that has been as a result of the off shoring of low value processing based manufacturing.

    The last few years have seen the rise and rise of high value add manufacturing in NZ, as we bring our IP, educated workforce and entrepreneurial style to wider markets. And that’s a really good thing.

    To claim that manufacturing is in crisis is alarmist crap. If anything, its a key strength of our economy, and continues to be so, at the premium end of the market.

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  14. coge (190 comments) says:

    It’s a slightly under 10% reduction on the actual number of unemployed. Which is a fantastic result.

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  15. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    What frustrates me is the fact that we still have 6.2% unemployed at a time many industries are still screaming for labour!

    Why is there still a major shortage of labour for industries such as fishing, forestry, agriculture, construction, hospitality etc? Indeed, how can we still have 6.2% unemployed and yet one employment site alone is advertising over 11,500 job vacancies? There should be no need for any NZ Company to go offshore in an effort to recruit low skilled / semi skilled workers but some companies / some industries are!!!

    Clearly, some New Zealanders have opted for a lifestyle funded by the taxpayer and until we stop handing out taxpayer dollars like confetti, a chunk of our population will remain on the dole by choice.

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  16. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    YesWeDid – the March 2013 quarter HLFS states 246,200 employed in the manufacturing sector.
    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey_HOTPMar13qtr.aspx

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  17. Muzza M (291 comments) says:

    “We still pay New Zealaders to sit on their backsides doing nothing and bring in labour from overseas to pick apples and Kiwifruit,harvest grapes and milk cows.
    While there is work available in New Zealand no one should be receiving an unemployment benefit!!!!!”

    Yep in theory you are right, in practise it’s not that easy. The problem is the lazy bastards won’t work and are a liability to the owner of the business. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

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  18. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    Thanks to Christchurch’s rate of 4.3% (a drop of 21 pct).
    “Outside of Christchurch, employment is struggling, particularly in the tradable sector,”
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Unemployment-drops-to-62-per-cent/tabid/421/articleID/297122/Default.aspx
    So, yeah no argument at all that it’s good news, but bear in mind that it’s carried by recovery from a natural disaster.

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  19. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    Key and English deserve our thanks for bringing the economy back into balance. I just hope they will ease things up a bit in time for the election and avoid petty mean cuts to public spending. Austerity has brought Britain a triple dip recession. But we had more room to move on the public debt front.

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  20. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    @Rightnow – from this link, table 3 of the spreadsheet has 171,800 full time equivalents employed in manufacturing for the March 2013 quarter. The same figure for March 2010 is 200,100.

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/QuarterlyEmploymentSurvey_HOTPMar13qtr.aspx

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  21. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Fox (128) Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    This is HUGE, and on the surface seems to be a ringing endorsement of the Government’s ‘new entrants rate’.

    Really? The MARCH quarterly survey is a “ringing endorsement” of the new entrants rate… a rate that came into effect MAY 1st? :)

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  22. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    @YesWeDid – that certainly explains why your figures were so different.

    You did read DPF’s post though?
    The bit at the beginning is enlightening:”The latest quarterly Household Labour Force Survey is” – and then the next word has a link to the very thing he’s discussing.

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  23. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Elaycee (3,456) Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    What frustrates me is the fact that we still have 6.2% unemployed at a time many industries are still screaming for labour!

    Why is there still a major shortage of labour for industries such as fishing, forestry, agriculture, construction, hospitality etc? Indeed, how can we still have 6.2% unemployed and yet one employment site alone is advertising over 11,500 job vacancies? There should be no need for any NZ Company to go offshore in an effort to recruit low skilled / semi skilled workers but some companies / some industries are!!!

    Clearly, some New Zealanders have opted for a lifestyle funded by the taxpayer and until we stop handing out taxpayer dollars like confetti, a chunk of our population will remain on the dole by choice.

    http://www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual/46052.htm

    The above link is Immigration New Zealand’s long term skill shortage list. Personally I’m not sure if it necessarily reflects the overall situation… but you identify areas like agriculture and forestry. INZ’s required qualifications are, for example:

    “PhD in Farm Systems Science”

    Construction? Bachelor of Engineering

    The list goes on and the qualifications and work experience required do not appear trivial.

    I would agree there are problems with people unwilling to move to where work is available and there are many who are simply unemployable. But I think it’s an exaggeration to suggest everyone on the benefit is there for the apparently wonderful lifestyle it provides. Often many positions require skills and experience the unemployed simply don’t have.

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  24. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Elaycee,

    To be fair I should note that you said “some” NZers have opted for the lifestyle.

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  25. OTGO (557 comments) says:

    And this from the ODT re the job losses from the Summit Wool Spinners plant in Oamaru http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/north-otago/254827/jobless-falls-labour-market-lifts
    A total beat up by the MSM at the time (especially TVNZ and TV3) but did they report the good news? Not on your Nellie!

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  26. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    m@tt (497) Says:

    “So, yeah no argument at all that it’s good news, but bear in mind that it’s carried by recovery from a natural disaster.”

    Very true but the government was forced to spend this money. Had the EQ not happened, they would have had more money to stimulate if required but they didn’t. I am amazed at how well NZ is doing considering what has been thrown at this country over the last 5 years. National may not be perfect but we are very lucky they are in charge.

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  27. Kleva Kiwi (289 comments) says:

    Wow.

    One of the biggest news stories this week so far and not even a sniff from Stuff or the New Zealand Hearld…

    NZ media is pathetic!

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  28. mandk (998 comments) says:

    Kleva Kiwi
    Not pathetic, just full of angry lefties.

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  29. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    So a fall in youth unemployment did not require lower pay rates, just some economic growth and job vacancies.

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  30. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    Kleva Kiwi and mandk

    The story in the Herald has been there in its current form since 12.30pm.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10882527

    The blog host also posted at 12.30pm – their source the original release of the statistics at 10.45am.

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  31. mandk (998 comments) says:

    KK,
    I just checked and I see that both Stuff and the Herald have quickly relegated the employment/unemployment story to their business news sections.
    But they would have done the same if employment was down and unemployment was up, wouldn’t they? Yeah, right.

    Edit: SPC, yes, but they have swept the good news under the carpet.

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  32. mandk (998 comments) says:

    SPC @ 4.46
    Youth unemployment is still 25%, four times the rate for all ages.
    Problem solved? No, there still needs to be differential minimum wage for youths to make them more employable, compared to older, more experienced workers.

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  33. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    NZ’s unemployment rate now puts it in 11th= out of 34 OECD countries, so in the top third. the average rate is 8.0%

    So National is delivering on Helen Clarkenstiens promise to put us back in the top half of the OECD …. Labour will be pleased that at least one of dear leaders promises has eventually been delivered on.

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  34. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    mandk, unemployment is higher than 25% for graduate teachers in their 20’s and 30’s unable to find work after 3 years training. The same applies for housewives looking for work after some years at home. And for those who lost jobs. The unemployment rate is higher for all of those looking for work than those in work, not just first time or youth.

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  35. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    mandk,

    the story is still on their front page where I found it.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/

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  36. mandk (998 comments) says:

    SPC
    We must be looking at different things because when I look it is only shown under Business

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  37. Chinarugby (88 comments) says:

    NZ’s inept media is fabulous when running highly emotive scaremongering headlines – the relentless ones regarding the so called ‘Exodus to OZ’ which we are hammered with so often comes to mind.

    We recall one such front page headline a while back where the ‘exodus’ doom and gloom was banged about at length, six months later new stats revealed that an annual high of 20 000 plus kiwis had moved back to NZ – it wasn’t a headline but buried in a sidebar column!

    So fully expect news tonight and the papers tomorrow to find some key negatives over the employment and some hand wringing leftie to bemoan something or other.

    A good friend of ours is one of the 38 000 in these stats to have secured a good job – it’s a 100% win for him and his family!

    Cheer up NZ :)

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  38. mandk (998 comments) says:

    SPC update:
    We must be looking at different things because when I look it is only shown under Business.
    Gilmore is lead story, then the Cleveland women, then Georgie pie, then the kids who killed themselves fleeing the police, then the gay guy who is cross because he can’t be a vicar, and so on

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  39. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    mandk, it was on the front page from 12.30pm till at least 5.16pm – yeah it is not there now.

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  40. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    Given this could have been the lead story, it would appear in fact that the media spin was to the favour of the government,

    “Excluding Canterbury from the national estimates shows a much weaker labour market, with both the employment rate and labour force participation rate falling over the year.”

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey_MRMar13qtr.aspx

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  41. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    I’m expecting a small amount of coverage from the MSM. They don’t often seem to publish good news about National successes.

    I remember the Herald having almost the whole front page dedicated to the huge increase in jobs under Clarkes government (within a few thou of the 281,000 new jobs created from 1990 to 1999 which they mysteriously never mentioned.)

    Of course they didn’t mention some rather other important details such as that an extra 20,000 jobs had come from new pen pushing roles in government and that Labour had redefined what full time employment meant – anyone who worked more than one hour a week was listed as full time employed.

    So it was a bit of a joke really. But hey, at least they have made a brief mention of the governments success, that’s progress. And all I can say is, this is fantastic news. I’m tickled pink.

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  42. Viking2 (11,490 comments) says:

    Nationally the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 per cent, the lowest since March 2010, from a revised 6.8 per cent three months earlier.

    Employment rose to 63.7 per cent in the first three months of this year, up from 62.7 per cent with the number of people in work climbing 38,000, or 1.7 per cent, in the March quarter to 2.23million.

    Many of these positions were filled by 15,500 extra full-time workers, including health care and social assistance sectors, highlighting by a 0.6 per cent increase in the participation rate from 67.2 per cent to 67.8 per cent.

    During the same period, full-time employment in the wholesale trade industry fell by 8600 workers.

    Statistics New Zealand industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay says market conditions improved during the quarter following a period of 2012 when employment and labour force participation fell.

    “However, while this is a strong turnaround, the labour market has yet to recover to levels seen at the start of the year.”

    ===================
    So all smoke and mirrors as usual. We of course have not had the corresponding figures for the benefit sector. Has that gone up or down.
    No doubt more are going to work inthe BOP. Its kiwifruit time. Lets see what happens in the next 6 weeks.

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  43. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    .6% is hardly celebratory unless configured within a relatively lengthy trend.

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  44. Viking2 (11,490 comments) says:

    Table 7 (cont) shows that the ‘Arts, recreation and other services’ sector added over 10,000 jobs in the March quarter. That’s an 8% percent rise.

    But I’m suspicious because the jobs were nearly all male. The male numbers went from 64,700 to 74,900 from Dec 2012 to March 2013. They look entirely out of place sequentially. The rise for females went from 66,200 to 67,100.

    Can anyone think of something that’s occurred to explain the leap for males?

    http://lindsaymitchell.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/arts-recreation-and-other-services-add.html

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  45. Johnboy (16,659 comments) says:

    All my Sheep gave a standing ovation when I enlarged from 12inches to 12.072 inches N-NZ! :)

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  46. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    Did you stand on a toadstool JB?

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  47. Johnboy (16,659 comments) says:

    I used too but Toad never puts his tool anywhere near me anymore! :)

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  48. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    Don’t worry JB, things could change.

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  49. Johnboy (16,659 comments) says:

    That was a fuckin weak response to a comment of deep psychological significance N-NZ!

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  50. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    Sorry JB, have you thought of high heels?

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  51. Johnboy (16,659 comments) says:

    Getting weaker N-NZ!! :)

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  52. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    Try some multi vitamins JB, and give up salt.

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  53. Johnboy (16,659 comments) says:

    Go to bed old fellow you are becoming boring. :)

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