By 3 News online staff
New Zealand’s unemployment has soared to its highest rate in 12 years, with a total of 170,000 people out of work.
The Household Labour Force survey released today shows between June and September, the unemployment rate rose from 6.8 percent to 7.3 percent. It is the third consecutive increase in unemployment data from the survey, which is conducted every three months.
Figures show there are 13,000 more unemployed people than three months ago, which is broken down to 10,000 men and 3,000 women.
- Unemployment rate rose 0.5 percentage points, to 7.3 percent.
- Number of people unemployed increased by 13,000 people.
- Employment rate fell 0.4 percentage points, to 63.4 percent.
- Number of people employed decreased by 8,000.
- Labour force participation rate remained unchanged, at 68.4 percent.
The Green Party says the figures are shocking and is the “final nail in the coffin” for the Government’s economic credibility.
Co-leader Metiria Turei says under the National Government’s watch, unemployment has increased by a total of 78,000.
She says using a wider measurement of “joblessness”, there are actually 294,900 New Zealanders without a job.
“The National Government has failed New Zealanders; its economic record is in tatters,” said Ms Turei.
Finance Minister Bill English was grilled by MPs in Parliament yesterday over National’s “budget projection” to create 170,000 jobs by 2015/16.
Mr English there are tens of thousands of new jobs and more New Zealanders than ever currently have jobs. He did concede some job losses.
“Some sectors and some businesses are losing jobs, some sectors and some businesses are flat out trying to recruit people. In fact, they cannot get the skills that they need,” he said.
“We would expect that this will be the pattern for the foreseeable future.”
Council of Trade Unions Secretary Peter Conway says it’s a national crisis and the Government needs to step in.
“These are not just numbers. They are people and families. They deserve support and the Government needs to give urgent attention to the jobs plight now,” he says.
FIRST Union general secretary Robert Reid says it’s a national disgrace that unemployment figures are so high but said ‘underemployment’ was also an issue.
“Every supermarket or department store that our union visits will have workers actively seeking more hours because their incomes, from working less than 40 hours a week, are not enough to live on,” says Mr Reid.
“National has sat on its hands for too long. It needs to urgently take ownership of the jobs crisis. Sitting back and hoping for the best is not acceptable,” he says.
Survey results are based on a sample of 15,000 households throughout the country.