Employment and unemployment up in December 1/4

Employment growth last year was concentrated in service industries, notably education, transport, storage and communications while fewer people were employed in agriculture, construction and manufacturing, government statistician Geoff Bascand says.

I’m surprised by the decrease in agriculture because the December quarter is a busy one on farms and the number of new dairy conversions last year would have created more jobs in that sector than were lost from sheep and beef farms which were converted. This is confirmed by the grapevine which is full of stories about the difficulty of finding staff.

Primary industries in Australia have also been struggling to recruit employees and a prawn fisherman we spoke to when we were there a couple of weeks ago said the announcement of 350 redundancies  at BHP’s Townsville refinery wasn’t all bad news because it might make it easier for farmers and fishermen who hadn’t been able to compete with mining when looking for workers.

The household labour survey showed the number of people unemployed in New Zealand reached 105,000 in the three months to December last year, the highest level since September 2002.

Unemployment rose by .4%, or 10,000 people, to 4.6% in the December quarter.

The number of people employed increased by 21,000 which was a .9% increase and the labour force participation rate increased by .6 percentage points to 69.3% .

On a related matter, Lindsay Mitchell compares unemployment benefits and superannuation in New Zealand and Australia.

3 Responses to Employment and unemployment up in December 1/4

  1. Matt Nolan says:

    “I’m surprised by the decrease in agriculture because the December quarter is a busy one on farms and the number of new dairy conversions last year would have created more jobs in that sector than were lost from sheep and beef farms which were converted”

    Hi Homepaddock.

    There are three things with the numbers that I think it is important to keep in mind.

    If there was a quarterly decline it would have been “seasonally adjusted” – the actual figures were up on September.

    There was a decline on a year ago. However, this was for agriculture + forestry + fishing. Where exactly this decline occurred is unclear. However, in seasonally adjusted terms the reduction in staff numbers occurred in June and September – not in December. Now I know forestry was busy in the second half of last year and has gone quite, and I know fishing has gone quite in some regions – so those sectors would have caused part of this annual decline.

    Thirdly, the industry numbers for the HLFS have large error bands – so even if it says employment fell, it may not really be the case that employment fell. While the measurement error isn’t as bad for the “aggregate” employment figures – the industry figures are very dodgey.

    Like

  2. homepaddock says:

    Thanks Matt – it pays to look beyond the numbers.

    Like

  3. Tom Awtry says:

    Today we wonder where all of our jobs of gone (out sourcing), consider re-reading the aforementioned paragraph and contemplate what the answer could possibly be?

    Now China has decided it needs to shift gears from being an exporter of inexpensive, commercial products to more a higher level of manufactured goods requiring advanced technology.

    Like

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