Stats NZ changes definition of unemployed

July 1st, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

With the stroke of a pen, the number of people unemployed dropped by 12,000, while the number in the workforce has also dropped.

But the changes are purely statistical, with not a single job being created or lost in the changes. 

On Wednesday Statistics New Zealand released a report outlining revisions to labour market research, designed to better identify job seekers and to bring the official figures in line with international standards.

It is the first major change to the calculations since the household labour force survey was introduced in 1985.

As a result of the changes, there have been substantial revisions to household labour force estimates, dating all the way back to 2007, to give accurate comparisons to future reports.

According to the new reports, the unemployment rate was 5.2 per cent in the March 2016, compared to 5.7 per cent in the original report, with the number considered unemployed dropping by 12,000 to 132,000.

Meanwhile the labour force participation rate dropped by 0.3 percentage points to 68.7 per cent.

The figures have been recalculated for every quarterly household labour force survey back to the start 2005.

This will get conspiracies going that the Government has changed the definition to make the data look better, but Stats NZ decides this independently, and it is about having the same definition as other countries.

The change is pretty simple to understand. You are only regarded as unemployed if you are out of work and actually seeking a job. And previously if you indicated you browsed job advertisements on the Internet, you are deemed to be seeking work.

The new definition regards merely reading advertisements, but not actually applying for any jobs, as not seeking work and hence not in the labour force.

Huge labour force growth

May 4th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The unemployment rate increased to 5.7 percent in the March 2016 quarter (from a revised 5.4 percent), while the labour force grew 1.5 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. This was the largest increase in New Zealand’s labour force since December 2004.

“The total labour force increased by 38,000 people in the March 2016 quarter,” labour market and households statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “This resulted in more New Zealanders in unemployment and employment than three months ago.”

The growth in people employed (1.2 percent) exceeded the growth in the working-age population (0.8 percent) this quarter. This resulted in the employment rate going up to 65.1 percent (from 64.9 percent). Employment increased for men and women this quarter, including for women going into full-time employment (10,600 people). Compared with a year ago, 47,000 more people were employed (2.0 percent).

47,000 more people working is not bad.

The increase in the unemployment rate was expected as the previous quarter had dropped 0.7%, and to some degree this is probably a correction (the HLFS has sampling margin of error like any poll).

From a year ago:

  • Employment up 2.0%
  • Unemployment down 0.3%
  • Unemployment rate down 0.1%
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings up 2.4%

OECD Misery Rates

March 15th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

oecd misery

The misery rate or index is the combination of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate. A country that has high inflation and high unemployment is in misery, while low unemployment and low inflation is the aim.

So of the 33 countries, only 9 have a misery index below 6%. NZ is 7th best at 5.1%.

We are better than Australia, US, UK and Canada at 5.4%.

The OECD average is 7.5%, EU average 9.2% and Euro zone average 10.6%.

The worst off is Greece at 23.9%, Spain 20.2% and Turkey 20.0%.

France is also very badly off at 10.2%.

Robertson predicted unemployment would hit 7%

February 8th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Just a few weeks ago Grant Robertson said:

With unemployment set to head towards 7% in the coming year, it is reckless that the government still has no plan to address this.

Oh dear.

Inflation has been outside the Reserve Bank target range for eight of the last sixteen quarters yet he is not planning to take any action. 

And here Grant is complaining that inflation is not high enough!

Unemployment drops to seven year low!!!

February 3rd, 2016 at 12:32 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in the December 2015 quarter (from 6.0 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the lowest unemployment rate since March 2009. There were 16,000 fewer people unemployed than in the September 2015 quarter.

Unemployment fell for both men and women over the latest quarter, with the unemployment rate for men falling 0.5 percentage points (to 5.0 percent) and that for women falling 0.8 percentage points (to 5.7 percent).

“Although the number of employed people has risen, there was also growth in the number of people not participating in the labour market,” Ms Ramsay said. “This has contributed to labour force participation falling for the third quarter in a row.”

Over the December quarter, employment grew 0.9 percent, after falling in the previous quarter. This has resulted in annual employment growth of 1.3 percent.

This is good news for everyone except Andrew Little!

It’s probably a bit too good. The HLFS is a survey of 30,000 so has a margin of error. It is quite possible next quarter will see it rise up a bit again. But regardless still a great drop.

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index, eased to 1.5 percent, the lowest since the year to the March 2010 quarter. This compares with low annual consumer price inflation of 0.1 percent.

So real wages have gone up 1.4%. Excellent.

The changes from a year ago are:

  • 32,000 more jobs
  • 35,000 more full-time jobs, 3000 fewer part-time
  • 10,000 fewer unemployed
  • Unemployment rate down 0.5%
  • Maori unemployment rate down 1.6%
  • Pasifika unemployment rate down 1.7%
  • 1,200 more manufacturing jobs (recall the manufactured crisis!)
  • 2.1% increase in hours worked
  • NZ has 10th= lowest unemployment rate in OECD, 1.3% below OECD average

The Labour market softens

November 4th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The unemployment rate increased to 6.0 percent in the September 2015 quarter (up from 5.9 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. At the same time, 11,000 fewer people were employed than in the June quarter. This was the first quarterly fall in employment in three years.

That is a concern. One needs measures to increase business confidence, to get more jobs created.

ANZ comments:

  • The HLFS highlighted a sharp weakening in labour demand in Q3, with employment falling for the first time in three years (-0.4% q/q).
  • While this sounds alarming at first blush, we note that other indicators were not quite as soft. Hours-based measures rose, as did alternative QES employment figures. Additionally, the HLFS weakness was entirely due to part-timers, with full-time employment actually rising a touch.
  • Labour supply is also now responding to this softer labour demand environment. A 0.7%pt fall in the participation rate ensured that the labour force contracted for the first time in three years, and ensured the rise in the unemployment rate (0.1%pt to 6.0%) was only modest.
  • The tone of today’s figures is soft, but not as soft as suggested by HLFS employment numbers alone. With some more timely measures of employment now improving (hiring intentions and job ads) we are cautious about overplaying the weakness.

The future of work under Labour is don’t work!

August 8th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The ideas are outlined in the party’s second paper on the future of work, which points to the Danish model of “flexicurity” as one option.

The Danish approach aims to promote employment security over job security according to that country’s official website.

The flexicurity “golden triangle” involves flexible rules for employers when hiring and firing alongside a guaranteed unemployment benefit at a relatively high level – up to 90 per cent for the lowest paid workers.

Hey why work, when you can get 90% of your income by not working.

Labour says the minimum wage should be $16.25 an hour.  For a 40 hour week that is $650 a week so 90% is $585 a week or $30,500 a year to be on the unemployment benefit.

Say 120,000 on unemployment benefits (inevitably will be way way more than that if you make it more generous) and that is $3.66 billion a year just on the unemployment benefit.

This is Labour’s future of non work!

Employment and Unemployment up

August 5th, 2015 at 12:25 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The unemployment rate increased to 5.9 percent in the June 2015 quarter (up from 5.8 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. At the same time, there were 7,000 more people employed over the quarter (up 0.3 percent).

“Even though employment grew over the quarter, population growth was greater, which resulted in a lower overall employment rate for New Zealand,” labour market and household statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

“Despite lower quarterly growth, this is still the 11th consecutive quarter of employment growth, making it the second-longest period of growth since the period between 1992 and 1996,” Ms Ramsay said.

That’s now bad.

Over the year to June 2015, employment growth was still fairly strong (at 3 percent) with 69,000 more people employed. The manufacturing industry showed the strongest annual employment growth.

Who remembers the claims on a manufacturing crisis?

The changes are:

  • Employment up 7,000 for the quarter and 68,000 for the year
  • Unemployment up 2,000 for the quarter and 10,000 for the year
  • Labour force up 10,000 for the quarter and up 79,000 for the year
  • Manufacturing jobs up 10,000 for the quarter and 22,000 for the year!

Despite the increase in the unemployment rate NZ has gone from 13th= to 12= in the OECD. Our rate remains lower than Australia and Canada but higher than UK and US.

Another 16,000 jobs this quarter

May 6th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The latest employment data from Stats NZ shows:

  • 16,000 more jobs this quarter
  • 74,000 more jobs in the last year of which 60,000 are full-time
  • Labour force participation rate at new high of 69.6%
  • Unemployment rate steady at 5.8%
  • An extra 15,900 manufacturing jobs over a year ago (don’t forget the crisis!)
  • The number of hours worked have increased 9.7% over three years ago
  • Salary rates up 1.7% in last year (while inflation is just 0.1%)

Jobs up, job seekers up even more

February 4th, 2015 at 11:38 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent in the December 2014 quarter, while the labour force participation rate reached a record 69.7 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Employment didn’t keep up with the record number of people entering the labour force, so even though employment growth was also strong over the quarter, the unemployment rate increased,” labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said

Annually, the number of people employed rose 3.5 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). While Auckland and Canterbury remain key contributors to national employment growth, employment growth in Canterbury eased in the year to the December 2014 quarter compared with previous quarters.

Eric Cramption notes:

NZ’s latest labour force survey numbers are really good news. Sometimes, an increasing unemployment rate is just fine. This quarter is one of those times and don’t let anybody tell you different.

The Labour Force Participation Rate has almost cracked 70%. Wage earnings growth is well in excess of CPI inflation. The increase in the unemployment rate coincides with a simultaneous, and bigger, increase in the employment rate: more people are being drawn into the labour force by strong employment growth. Some of those new-to-the-market or returning-to-the-market workers could take a little while to land, and so the unemployment rate is higher. 
And remember too that we’re also in the midst of very high net migration to New Zealand. 
Remember: increasing unemployment rates while labour force participation is increasing even faster generally is a good sign. Decreasing unemployment rates while labour force participation is dropping hard is generally not a good sign: it means people are giving up on the idea of getting a job. 
Year-on-year, the employment rate is up a full point, the unemployment rate is down a third of a point, and LFPR is almost up a point. Smokin’.
The raw numbers are quite huge:
  • Employment is up 27,000 for the quarter (and 80,000 for the year)
  • The labour force has grown 36,000 for the quarter (and 76,000 for the year)
  • Manufacturing jobs increased by 10,000 in the quarter
  • FT jobs are up 69,000 on a year ago and PT jobs up 11,000

Also average hourly earnings increased 2.6% over the year, which with inflation at 0.8% is a 1.8% real gain.

Good employment and wages news

November 6th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The latest jobs and wages data from Stats NZ finds:

  • Employment up 72,000 in last year, being 66,000 full-time and 6,000 part-time
  • Unemployment down 14,000 in last year
  • Labour force up by 57,000
  • Unemployment rate down to 5.4%, from 6.1% a year ago
  • NZ 9th lowest unemployment rate in OECD of 34 countries.
  • Unemployment rate now 0.7% lower than Australia and US, 0.9% lower than UK and 1.5% lower than Canada
  • The NEET (Not in employment, education or training) rate for under 20s down to 7.2% from 8.1% a year ago
  • Average weekly earnings up (over year) 1.8%, being 2.2% in private sector and 1.4% in public sector
  • Average hourly earnings up 2.4%, being 3.0% in private sector and 1.0% in public sector
  • Male hourly earnings up 2.0% and female hourly earnings up 2.7%

Issues that matter – the Economy

September 9th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I think the economy matters and should be a much bigger issue in this election so I’ve put together almost a dozen graphs showing the difference between National and Labour’s record on 11 important economic indicators. These are issues that matter to families and businesses.



Food prices increased 18.6% in Labour’s last term. Food prices have increased only 1.3% in National’s last three years.



Labour left office with the current account deficit at 7.9% of GDP. It is now at 2.8%.



Power prices went up 22.9% in Labour’s last three years. The rate has halved to 12.1% in National’s last three years.



There was a net loss of 35,830 people to Australia in Labour’s last year of office. In the last 12 months only 7,150 net departures – and in recent months under 100 a month.



The overall cost of living increases or inflation totalled 9.5% in Labour’s last three years. A third of that now at 3.3% over the last three years of National.



Labour left office with an annual balance of trade deficit of $5.3 billion. In the last 12 months it has been a surplus of $1.3 billion



Remember Labour wanting to remove GST off fruit and vegetables. Under the last three years of Labour their prices went up 33.2%! Total increase in the last three years is a mere 1.4%.



The deficit in 2008/09 (on the fiscal settings left by Labour, and the impact of the GFC) was a massive $10.5 billion. Labour have opposed every piece of spending restraint since, but despite their opposition we are on track to a small $300 million surplus this year.



In June 2008 the median after tax income for a full time worker was $38,600 (in 2013 dollars). That has increased to $42,100 by June 2013, meaning the median FT worker has an extra $3,500 income to spend – and this during the worst recession the world has seen since the Great Depression.



Unemployment went up by 27,000 in Labour’s last year in office. It has declined by 17.000 in the last 12 months, and is projected to keep declining.

You are welcome to share any or all of these graphs. All data is directly from Stats NZ Infoshare except the income data where I have used the IRD website to calculate the tax impact and the Reserve Bank website to adjust them for inflation.

New Zealanders have a clear choice. Remaining on our present course which is surplus, falling unemployment, low prices, fewer Kiwis leaving, growing after tax incomes and affordable food – or a radical change of policy which would see many more taxes, less competition, a massively expanded state and an unstable alternate Government.

It is only through a healthy economy do we get to have the money to fund our health and education systems. And that brings me to my final graph.


That is economic growth for Labour’s last year in office, and National’s last 12 months.

Government do not directly control many of these economic measures. But they can and do impact them with their economic policies. The difference between where we are today and where we were in the mid to late 2000s is stark.

Unemployment drops to 5.6%

August 6th, 2014 at 11:19 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ have reported that seasonally adjusted unemployment has dropped to 5.6%, which is excellent in continuing the trend. NZ now has the 9th lowest unemployment rate in the 34 country OECD. We were 11th lowest last quarter. We are now lower than Australia and Israel. In fact our OECD ranking is now lower than it was in 2008 (10th equal then). Our unemployment rate is 1.8% below the OECD average, and lower than Australia, Canada, UK and US.

Some stats:

  • Unemployed of 137,000 is 17,000 fewer than a year ago
  • Unemployment rate of 5.6% compared to 6.4% a year ago
  • Employed of 2,328,000 – 82,000 more than a year ago
  • FT employed up 71,000 and PT employed up 13,000
  • 65,000 more in labour force than a year ago
  • Labour force participation rate is 68.9% compared to 68.1% a year ago
  • Maori unemployment rate is 11.0%, down from 12.8% a year ago
  • Pasifika unemployment rate is 11.4% down from 16.3% a year ago
  • Under 20 unemployment rate is 20.4%, down from 24.1% a year ago
  • Manufacturing jobs are 246,500 – up from 242,600 a year ago (recall the crisis!)
  • Number of hours worked is up 4.8% from a year ago (highest growth for many years)
  • The proportion of under 20s not in employment, study or training has fallen from 8.0% a year ago to 7.4% today

Some additional data from the other employment surveys out today:

  • Salary and wage rates up 1.7% from a year ago
  • Manufacturing pay rates up 1.9% from a year ago (recall the crisis!)
  • Total weekly gross earnings up 6.3% from a year ago
  • Female average earnings as % of male up from 86.7% to 87.1% over a year

More jobs

May 7th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The HLFS is out. Somewhat annoyingly, the unemployment rate has remained at 6% – but this is due to more people entering the labour force. Key stats:

  • Employment up 25,000 for the quarter and now 83,000 higher than a year ago
  • The job growth is full-time not part-time. 30,000 new full-time jobs
  • Unemployed remain at 147,000 and 6.0% rate
  • Our unemployment rate is 11th best in OECD, compared to 12th last quarter (out of 34)
  • Those not in labour force down 20,000
  • Labour force participation rate is 69.3% up from 67.9% a year ago
  • The number of hours worked increased in the quarter by 2.7%

Also the average ordinary time earnings are 2.5% up from a year ago.

Unemployment drops

February 5th, 2014 at 11:03 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The labour market continues to grow and unemployment has fallen to 6.0 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. There were 24,000 more people employed in the December 2013 quarter, following an additional 28,000 in the September quarter.

Over the December 2013 year, the number of people employed rose 3.0 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). Demand for workers from established businesses rose 1.9 percent in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).

“We’re seeing strength across the labour market, particularly in the industries that provide services,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said. “The unemployment rate has been falling and employment rising for the last 18 months, with both now at levels last seen in early 2009.”

The global financial crisis and recession devastated the NZ economy in 2008 and 2009. It’s great to see unemployment tracking down. NZ now has the 12th lowest unemployment rate out of 34 OECD countries, which is one place better than last quarter.

Some stats:

  • 24,000 more people in employment in the last quarter
  • Unemployment drops from 6.2% to 6.0%
  • The under 20 unemployment rate remains high at 24% (they’re priced out of the market) but the percentage of under 20s not in employment, education or training is 8.3%
  • The manufactured manufacturing crisis continues with an extra 6,100 jobs in the manufacturing sector
  • Average ordinary-time weekly earnings (by FTE) rose 2.8 percent from a year ago


2013 Q3 HLFS

November 6th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The third quarter Household Labour Force Survey is out. Some key data points:

  • Employment up 27,000
  • Unemployment down 4,000
  • Unemployment rate down 0.2% to 6.2%
  • Maori unemployment rate down 0.6% to 12.2%
  • Manufacturing jobs up 5,300 (recall the “crisis in manufacturing” claims of the opposition)
  • Total hours worked up 1.6% for the quarter and 3.8% for the year
  • NZ unemployment rate is 13th lowest of 34 OECD countries, which averages 7.9%

Also from other labour force surveys:

  • Salary/wage rates up 0.5% for the quarter and 1.7% for the year
  • Weekly gross earnings up 1.8% for the quarter and 5.3% for the year
  • Average FT salary for public sector is $69,837 and private sector is $51,934


Labour market stats

August 7th, 2013 at 1:05 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released:

The labour market is showing signs of improvement, Statistics New Zealand said today. Employment is growing slowly and unemployment is down from a year ago, but up slightly since the start of the year. Wage inflation continues to be restrained.

This is the first time Statistics NZ has released the full suite of quarterly labour market statistics on the same day. This is to give a more complete picture of the labour market.

It’s useful to have all three surveys out at the same time, so we do indeed get a more complete picture.

Employment continued to rise in the June 2013 quarter, following a positive March 2013 quarter. Over the June 2013 year, the number of people employed rose 0.7 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), while demand for workers from established businesses rose 1.9 percent in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).

And in the last quarter:

  • The number of people employed rose 0.4 percent, while filled jobs rose by 0.8 percent, after adjusting for usual seasonal patterns.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, up from 6.2 percent in the March 2013 quarter. 
  • Annual wage inflation was 1.7 percent.
  • Average hourly ordinary time earnings were up 0.2 percent over the quarter.

The latest quarter saw 8,000 more people in work, but also 5,000 more unemployed, as the labour force grew by 13,000.

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 HLFS started in 1986. Key stats:

  • 2,234,000 people in work, up 38,000 from December.
  • Unemployed down from 161,000 to 146,000
  • Unemployment 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.

Rodney says auction the unemployed on trade Me!

March 24th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide in NBR writes:

We have 50,000 people on the unemployment benefit and plenty of work that needs doing. The 50,000 represent 1000 years of work that doesn’t get done each and every week. The waste is horrific.

The waste follows from the failure to match the unemployed to the jobs that need doing at a price potential employers are willing to pay.

The matching part of the problem is a perfect job for the internet. And, sure enough, US techno whizz Morgan Warstler has the fix: match the jobs and the unemployed on eBay and pay them through Paypal.

In New Zealand our equivalent, Trade Me, is the perfect set-up linking Kiwis wanting to sell with those wanting to buy. It’s similarly perfect for matching those looking for work with those with jobs that need doing. Trade Me should be used to match jobseekers to jobs.

Under the Warstler scheme the unemployed would register on Trade Me to receive their benefit payment each Friday night.  At present, an unemployed 20-year-old receives a benefit payment of $190.84 gross a week.  Let’s make that $200.

Once an unemployed person is registered on Trade Me anyone wanting work done can bid for them to do it.  It’s the perfect way to match the jobs that need doing to those who can do them. 

So how would it work?

The unit of work on offer is a 40-hour week. And the bids start at $40 a week. That appears impossibly low but the government still pays the $200, so the least anyone gets paid for a week’s work is $240. 

The low starting bid ensures the market clears every week. Local retirement villages and community groups would be actively bidding to help the unemployed into work and to get work done.  Specialist contractors would move in to bid for the unemployed and to offer their work to the marketplace.

It’s hard to see the price staying at $40 a week. Especially for good workers.

The bids increase in $20 increments, with the government getting back $10 of each $20 hike. The worker gets to keep the other $10. For example, if the bid goes to $200 the worker keeps $320 and the government contributes $120 of his or her pay.

So basically the benefit abates.

Trade Me enables feedback possible both ways. Anyone familiar with the site knows how that works.

The good workers and the good employers would soon be identified. There would be no better CV than a string of positive comments on Trade Me. Those workers would get their wages bid up and would soon have a permanent job.

The impossibly lazy would also be identified. They could be followed up by government agents.

Likewise, the bad employers would be weeded out. They would be dealt to just as bad dealers are dealt to on Trade Me. The Warstler scheme provides total transparency.

You could trial this with the long-term unemployed – those who have been on the unemployment benefit for over six months.

European Unemployment

March 5th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The NY Times reports:

Unemployment in the 17-nation euro zone climbed to 11.9 percent in January from 11.8 percent the previous month, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

For the 27 nations of the Union, the jobless rate in January stood at 10.8 percent, up from 10.7 percent in December. All of the figures were seasonally adjusted.

Even though the EU is not that major a trading partner for us anymore, their woes will impact us. If Europeans are unemployed they are not spending money on imported goods from China. If the Chinese economy doesn’t grow as quickly as previously that impacts us both directly and via Australia.

The official stats say:

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate increased in nineteen Member States, fell in seven and
remained stable in Denmark. The largest decreases were observed in Estonia (11.1% to 9.9% between
December 2011 and December 2012), Latvia (15.5% to 14.4% between the fourth quarters of 2011 and 2012),
Romania (7.4% to 6.6%) and the United Kingdom (8.3% to 7.7% between November 2011 and November 2012).
The highest increases were registered in Greece (20.8% to 27.0% between November 2011 and November 2012),
Cyprus (9.9% to 14.7%), Portugal (14.7% to 17.6%) and Spain (23.6% to 26.2%).

The NZ unemployment rate is 6.9%. Too high, but better than most of Europe.


HLFS Dec 2012

February 7th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The December 2012 HLFS is out. Key points are:

  • Employment down 22,000 in quarter
  • Unenmployment also down 10,000 in quarter
  • Those not in labour force up 43,000
  • Unemployment rate down from 7.3% to 6.9%
  • Under 20 unemployment rate up to 30.9%
  • European unemployment rate up 0.1% to 5.5%
  • Maori unemployment rate down 0.3% to 14.8%
  • Pacific unemployment rate up 0.4% to 16.0%
  • Asian unemployment rate down 2.0% to 8.0%
  • Primary industry jobs down 10,400, manufacturing down only 800, construction up 4,500

Pretty weak data. The Government will face real challenges if the employment situation doesn’t improve in 2013. However worth noting that the 6.9% unemployment rate is 14th lowest of 34 in the OECD and lower than Canada, UK and US. The OECD average is 8.0%.

Unemployment up

November 9th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports bad employment news:

  • Employment drops 8,000 in the quarter
  • Unemployment up 13,000 to 175,000

If employment data doesn’t improve in the next two years, the Government will struggle politically – to say the least.

Job unfilled

May 27th, 2012 at 8:49 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

The country’s unemployment rate is the highest it has been since 1999, but some employers are struggling to find people willing to take on manual work.

Several employers desperately seeking reliable workers say it is as if people are unprepared for the workforce and don’t want to prove themselves.

The unemployment rate for the March quarter was 7.1 per cent, the highest it has been since June 1999, and the youth rate was 23.4 per cent.

Hayden Bootton, of HSB Builders in Northland, said finding unskilled workers was difficult, despite offering apprenticeships.

He was offering $16 an hour for temporary workers and the minimum wage for permanent work, pay rises every six months and the prospect of a full builder’s wage of about $20 an hour at the end of training. …

Northland’s unemployment rate is almost 9 per cent, one of the country’s highest.

Brenda, who does not want her surname used, said it was not only a Northland problem. Her Waikato business hires labourers. She said people had worked a couple of days before quitting, and others had walked out when faced with a drug test.

I recall after I left university deciding not to apply for a job because it paid only $11 an hour, and was for four months only while someone took a long overseas trip. Later that day I reconsidered and recovered the advert from the bin and applied for it. My rationale was better to be in work on not great wages for even four months, than not working at all.

Four years later I left the employer earning close to double what I started on. I was so glad I took that initial relatively low paid job with no job security.

December 2011 HLFS

February 10th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The December 2011 Household Labour Force Survey found the following:

  • Seasonally adjusted employment up 4,000 for the quarter and 35,000 for the year
  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment down 7,000 for the quarter and 6,000 for the year
  • Seasonally adjusted labour force down 3,000 for the quarter but up 28,000 for the year
  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down to 6.3%. Was 6.7% a year ago.
  • Under 20s unemployment rate up from 23.4% to 24.2%
  • Of 34 OECD countries, NZ unemployment rate is 12th lowest

Youth Unemployment

May 5th, 2011 at 3:33 pm by David Farrar

The latest HLFS has some moderately good news in it.

  • 30,000 more jobs in the last quarter
  • 3,000 fewer unemployed
  • Unemployment 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.