Making stuff up

06/02/2014

It’s so much easier to be in opposition when there’s a lot of bad news around.

Then the politicians can bring out the metaphorical sack cloth and ashes and say how bad things are.

It’s much harder to do that when there’s a growing trend of positive announcements, but that doesn’t stop them trying, even if they have to ensure the facts don’t get in the way of their stories:

Greens leader Russel Norman has joined his Labour colleague David Cunliffe in being caught making stuff up about the economy, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Dr Norman really does need to be held to account when he alleges National has failed to grow jobs and wages – when the official statistics show the opposite is true,” Mr Joyce says.

“In the past year alone, 66,000 more people have jobs across New Zealand – the biggest annual increase since 2006.

“And the best source of wage movements is the Quarterly Employment Survey, which the Greens and Labour have agreed over the years to use as the basis for paid parental leave and New Zealand Superannuation.

“Using this measure, average weekly earnings rose 2.8 per cent over the year to December, while inflation was only 1.6 per cent. So, on average, wages are continuing to rise faster than inflation.

“The gains are more significant when measured on an after tax basis. The average weekly earnings, after tax, have gone up 25 per cent since September 2008, compared to inflation of 10 per cent over the same period.

“The Greens and Labour continue to deliberately use the wrong measure of actual wage growth by quoting the Labour Cost Index. In doing so, they are misleading New Zealanders.”

Photo: We are heading in the right direction.

And another piece of positive news:


Employment up, unemployment down

05/02/2014

Employment has lagged behind other encouraging announcements but the labour market is strengthening and unemployment has fallen to a three-year low:

The labour market continues to grow and unemployment has fallen to 6.0 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. There were 24,000 more people employed in the December 2013 quarter, following an additional 28,000 in the September quarter.

Over the December 2013 year, the number of people employed rose 3.0 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). Demand for workers from established businesses rose 1.9 percent in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).

“We’re seeing strength across the labour market, particularly in the industries that provide services,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said. “The unemployment rate has been falling and employment rising for the last 18 months, with both now at levels last seen in early 2009.”

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index (LCI) salary and ordinary time wage rates, remained steady at 1.6 percent in the December 2013 quarter. Average ordinary time hourly earnings, as measured by the QES, rose 2.9 percent over the year – up from 2.6 percent in the September quarter.

 

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says this is further evidence that the New Zealand economy is heading in the right direction.

“What is pleasing is the growth is right across the country and shows the Government’s responsible economic policies and comprehensive Business Growth Agenda is creating the opportunities for businesses to invest and employ more people.”
Highlights include:

  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.3 per cent to 68.9 per cent – the second highest since records began in 1986. Female participation rose 0.4 per cent to 63.4 per cent – the highest level since the HLFS began
  • The rate for youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) for 15-24 year olds fell 0.1 per cent to 11.3 per cent – the lowest rate since December 2008
  • Māori and Pasifika unemployment are both down. Māori unemployment rate was 12.8 per cent (from 14.8 per cent a year ago). Pasifika unemployment rate was 13.7 per cent (from 16.0 per cent a year ago)
  • Manufacturing jobs are up 6 per cent in the last year or 14,300 people.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate remains better than most OECD countries and is just behind Australia (5.8 per cent). New Zealand has a significantly higher employment rate than Australia because of our higher participation rate. The average unemployment rate across the OECD is 7.8 per cent. 

Wages continue to rise faster than inflation. Average weekly earnings rose 2.8 per cent in the last year, compared to inflation of 1.6 per cent.

“While steady progress is being made, as a country we need to remain focused on encouraging investment that will bring jobs, and higher incomes for New Zealanders and their families,” Mr Joyce says.

Six percent is still too high but the improvement is welcome and increased business confidence means it is likely to continue.


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