4 Aug 2011

Unemployment figures 'amount to jobless recovery'

5:10 pm on 4 August 2011

Unions say official unemployment figures point to a jobless recovery in the economy, with the numbers out of work remaining stubbornly high.

Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey shows the number of people out of work remained at 154,000 in the three months to June, unchanged from the previous quarter.

While 1000 new jobs were created in the quarter, that was only enough to keep up with the rise in the numbers looking for work. That leaves the official unemployment rate unchanged at 6.5%, according to the survey.

Employment increased for women and decreased for men in the June quarter. Fulltime employment grew by 0.2%, while there was a 0.1% decrease in part-time employment.

Forty-thousand jobs have been created over the past year, but the number of people out of work has only fallen by 6000.

The Council of Trade Unions says that amounts to a jobless recovery and the Government must do more to stimulate work.

But Business New Zealand says a big increase in the number of hours worked in the past three months indicate a stronger pick-up in employment is around the corner.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens also says there are definite signs the economy is improving, with a rise in full-time employment and an increase in hours worked.

Mr Stephens says he does not believe the jobless numbers will affect the Reserve Bank's decision on interest rates in September.

Market uncertainty about debt concerns in the United States and Europe and signs of faltering global growth are more important factors, he says.