“There is plenty that needs doing that could put more Kiwis in work. But figures out today show that there are still too many Kiwis out of work,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. In the June quarter official unemployment was 5.1 percent or 131,000 people, barely changed from 5.2 percent three months before.
“We should be expecting figures close to 3.3 percent as it was in 2007 – that would mean 45,000 more people employed. Even Treasury is now saying that 4.0 percent is where it should be.”
“On top of the officially unemployed are thousands of people looking for work but not included in the unemployment statistics, or wanting more hours. A total of 342,000 are looking for work (“underutilised” in the jargon). That is only 3,000 less than a year ago.”
“We need the Government to be focusing on job creation – a Government which is committed and visionary in creating jobs is exactly what Kiwis need.”
Rosenberg said that he was not satisfied that the changes to the definition of “unemployed” brought New Zealand much closer to international comparability. “Countries in the European Union including the U.K. still have different standards, and they make up the majority of the OECD”, he said. Despite the change in the definition, New Zealand is still ranked 11th in unemployment in the OECD. “If the economy is really doing so well, we should be back near the top, as we were in the 2000s”, he said. “We are ranked 14th in underutilisation, which is also too high.”