Employment and Skills

Unemployment drops as people give up

Monday February 18, 2013 Kel Sanderson

Unemployment drops as people give up


There were 160,000 unemployed in the December quarter, which is 10,000 less than in the September quarter.  Unfortunately,  the reason unemployment dropped is because the number of people who gave up looking for a job increased by 21,000.  An additional 21,000 people who now see themselves as ‘Not in the Labour Force’ and stay at home rather than looking for work.


Because people pulled out of the labour force, the unemployment rate ducked below the 7.1% in September to 6.8% in December.


Employment change seriously negative


The number of jobs lost in the year to December 2012 was 32,000.  This is a serious drop.  In the previous 18 months to June 2011, employment grew by 40,000..  The momentum behind this fall leads us to state the media’s cliché that job losses ‘will not cease any time soon.’




Which industries and employees are suffering?


To get a good idea of changes in employment levels taking account of seasonal fluctuations, we track the change this quarter from the level in the same quarter last year.


It will be no surprise to anyone that

the biggest loss was from manufacturing and processing, where there were 16,000 fewer employed.  Partly as a knock-on from this, there were 14,000 fewer employed in the wholesale trade and warehousing.  Another loss we cannot afford is the  loss of another 4,000 from the skilled foods trades.


In light of Christchurch, it is  rather a surprise is that the construction industry lost a further 8,000 people.  However, this is reflected in the Mainzeals recent receivership, which suggests that all is not well in the construction industry, particularly on larger projects.


Another education fail mark


The other industry to be hit heavily is education, where there are 11,000 fewer employed this year than last.  This is across the sector from tertiary to pre-school.  However, the worst affected are schoolteachers in preschool and school education wherethere were 8,200 fewer employed.  Of these, 6,200 were part time people. 


We expect that these are mainly the teachers’ aides who look after special needs students and those impossible to manage in the classroom so that the teacher can get on and teach.

Teachers not only uncertain whether or not they’ll get paid can also look forward to another year of classroom disruption.