The 'official unemployment figure has risen from 4.7 percent to 5 percent of the population or 115,000 people.

While the media has highlighted that it was slightly less than a predicted 5.3 percent, it actually masks some rather more serious figures.

The jobless figure - that is people who are officially unemployed, available but not seeking work, seeking work but not available - has risen by some 18.9 percent from the previous March survey to some 224,000.

Also, the number of underemployed people - often referred to as the 'working poor' - has also increased. There were some 473,500 working part time in the March quarter and nearly 100,000 of these workers (21,1 percent) wanted more hours.

This compares with 16.5 percent for the December 2008 quarter.

Not coincidentally food banks are reporting they are struggling to meet the demand.

With our parliamentary politicians - of various flavours - still locked into the failed and discredited neoliberal model, the unemployment figures will continue to grow.

It seems that the Council of Trade Unions are not going to offer an economic alternative to neoliberlism either.

It's response to the unemployment figures has been to 'suggest' that the government invest in 'home insulation and environmental work' while offering the jobless some more 'assistance'.

Just hopeless.

A government - and a union hierarchy - that was really committed to tackling the unemployment crisis would confront the causes and not just the symptons.

A commitment to nationalising failing industries in order to safeguard jobs would be a good start.

Let's hear the CTU calling for that.

PS. I'm not holding my breath.


  1. It's good to read something that isn't the usual economic 'orthodoxy'.
    Public ownership is the obvious answer to safeguarding jobs but there lacks any political will to do it. Why are the union bosses not putting forward this as an alternative - even if its just to show that there IS an alternative?
    Possibly LWR might be able to stagger on in a much reduced capacity? But a lot of jobs will still be lost.


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